Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Splendid Beginning

Hello everyone. It's just past five AM as I write this short entry. Sara and I have had a terrific first day together. We've both decided to really give this relationship a try. She seems to very much enjoy my company and, to my great releaf, my cooking. We had the best steak dinner I've made in quite some time last evening. It obviously went down well. No leftovers but a handful of potato pieces. She also loves audio dramas and we spent considerable time listenning to one of my more recent acquisitions. Namely, Inspector McLevy. It's so damned good to have her to share my appreciation for these dramas with. No lapse of attention due to there being no graphics. She's got a good focus. I really hoped I'd find someone who could appreciate the things I tended to listen to and she really fills that hope in spades. She's very knowledgeable about all sorts of things and I have no doubt that my game and other projects will greatly bennefit from that. However, just now, I'm rather basking in the elation of finding someone who's so accomplished and intelligent finding me worth exploring love's possibilities with.

Of course, we spent the majority of time simply sitting on the couch talking. To actually have someone here makes so much difference for me. Both of us feel we have a real shot at something splendid together. She likes the apartment and area. I hope her guide dog Rocky has found me an acceptable host. He definitely likes being patted. It was just a bit of a different experience having a dog in the place. I'm afraid I've accidentaly lightly stepped on a paw while he lay splayed out on the floor. I'm getting better at treading softly and listenning carefully for the good old fellow but it's a work in progress. He was so very attentive to Sara. Most times I felt him, Rocky was looking towards her. He found a few mysterious crunchy items on the floor that my vacuuming efforts had obviously missed. On the good side, he never tried to eat any of our dinners. Having an animal around does seem to make me feel ultra-conscious of anything on the floor. Sara, of course, had no expectations that my place would be spic and span or anything like that.

Today, we'll be going to Symposium Cafe for brunch and be meeting my good friends Mark and Wendy. There's a slight possibility Carine and Kevin may join us too. There's so much to look forward to. Introducing her to all my friends will be a real pleasure. Both of us read quite a lot so there are plenty of book discussions to be had. It feels like a very large gate that has blocked life's advancement has been openned for me at last. I couldn't have asked for a more favourable first visit here. Things have gone quite well indeed. Both of us are taking it slow and careful but we do seem to have a good chemistry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Coming Unstuck

Hello everyone. Time has snuck away from this largely happy blogger once again. I haven't done one of these since August. The Summer ended splendidly, although truth to tell, some aspects of it have continued into the Autumn for me. The past couple of days have been splendidly warm. Not quite equal to Summer's heat but a nice repreve from the generally cool rainy trend. Winter is definitely approaching, but it won't arrive quite yet.

I got to Canada's Wonderland a couple more times with Carine, Kevin, and his new special lady Tavia. We caught the Haunt Night special event. I can't say that it was anything more than good campy fun. They change the look of areas with hanging curtains, plastic slats and netting. I guess visually, that works quite well. However, it ended up merely being annoying for me as I ploughed through these flimsy barriers. Once or twice, my nose got caught in the holes in hanging netting or possibly simulated cobwebs and was yanked upwards. Still, we got on the rollercosters and hanging out with those high-spirited people was delightful. I'm glad they're willing to take me to these things rather than just presuming that I wouldn't like them. I simply enjoyed the occasion for different reasons than most people might have. We all got soked by the rain that arrived nearer the end of our outing but my fleece jacket stood me in very good stead. I think I was the dryest person in the group when we went to Symposium for a very late drink and bite to eat. As always, Symposium Cafe didn't let us down and we enjoyed around an hour's conversation along with our snacks.

Kevin and Carine plus a lot of other friends were also able to join me at Symposium Cafe for a wonderful gathering at the end of August. It was splendid to be able to see how so many of them reacted to each other. I had a profound sense of just how blessed I am with friendship in life. Hopefully, I can a chieve something similar at New Year's Eve. Certainly something else to look forward to.

I have also enjoyed a splendid Thanksgiving weekend this year. The Haunt night kicked it off nicely. We had our family dinner on sunday and it went very well with everyone present and in good spirits. I managed to get a couple of excellent audioboos of the festivities including one of my neaces being spun around on an office chair by their gleeful grandfather. My birthday also was quite enjoyable. I celebrated it with my family. My grandmother was there and able to visit her great granddaughters. Those little darlings were unfortunately a little under the weather which somewhat disorganised the celebration and made it tricky to capture a good audioboo of the occasion. I still managed to get one but it was a close thing. I hadn't realised that my brother Dan had one of those Tassimo coffee makers. I've been curious about what they felt and sounded like ever since hearing the review on them done by that brave and daring bunch over at Serotek. They really are very practical and easy to use for blind people and I may look into getting one after Christmas. Meanwhile, I've been thoroughly enjoying my order of Screech Tea that arrived on an otherwise uneventful Halloween this year. I stayed home and listenned to some short horror stories. There was also the Myth Busters Halloween special which was very entertaining.

I'm very thankful that I was healthy enough to enjoy my birthday and Thanksgiving weekend. However, those occasions formed brighter spots in a bit of illness I went through over this past while. The earlier portion was likely a flu or something similar. I found myself sneezing, coughing, and very very tired. I slept through large chunks of days and was generally lethargic. That illness hung around for a couple of weeks. Once I got over it, my sleeping was out of wack and I've had to contend with insomnia and ill-timed sleeps for the past while. Thankfully, that's finally cleared up over the past few days. I've felt more like myself again over the past weekend although I still slept through a couple of hours of yesterday afternoon. I'm not quite back at a hundred percent but I'm getting very close.

It's been hard to sustaine focus on any sort of creative work. I have, on the other hand, been reading a lot of books and listenning to podcasts. This has kept me from sinking into even worse conditions. The CNIB library and Audible have been wonderful resources over the past while. I've made two stupendous audio drama finds on Audible over the past couple of weeks. The first was The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This was an extention of sixteen brand new cases based on references to unwritten adventures in the Conan Doyle canon of Sherlock Holmes material. Bert Cules has done a terrific job both in crafting the cases and producing the audio dramas. I was exceedingly pleased to finally be able to obtain the adventures from Audible after fruitlessly searching for the CDs over the past four years. My other accidental find was the complete series of Inspector McLevy dramas. He's a fictional inspector in Edenborough Scotland during the Victorian era. Those two finds will certainly make this Winter a more pleasant experience. Real jewels in my growing collection of modern audio dramas. Especially the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes collection. I was pretty much resigned to never finding those. I've read through a good many books in an effort to keep awake during daytime or stave off boredom. Sadly, despite being very interested while reading them, their content has largely vacated my brain. I'll have to re-read a lot of it at some point. On the bright side, I've got them for keeps and they kept my morale up when I needed them to.

It's now mid afternoon on november 22 as I continue writing this entry. The insomnia has at last mostly gotten back in its box. I've slept pretty well for a few days now. Having failed to pull myself away from Inspector McClevy in timely fashion this morning, I failed to take the chicken I planned to eat for lunch out to thawe. When I did so, I found that it was frozen together. The feel of the packaging had suggested that this might not happen. I won't make that mistake again. It took some doing to extract the two small breasts I actually wanted. They're now cooking on my grill bathed in Diana chicken sauce if I remember the smell of what I put on them correctly. Whatever the case, they begin to smell worth every bit of the trouble they put me to. Lunch has changed with minimal fuss into a kind of early supper on the theory that eating early might help my sleep remain good.

A whole lot has happenned over the past while. I've seen some friends including Paul from my church and Carine and her boyfriend Richard. It was nice to get to meet Carine's mysterious other half at last. He's a pretty nifty guy. Very observant and thoughtful but you can tell he's been overworked and through some rough stuff. There'll hopefully be more opportunities to know him better going forward. It's always interesting seeing how couples of friends relate to each other. Plans to see Michelle, Gerry and Angela haven't exactly worked out over the past little while but that ought to change soon.

Thanks to Twitter and my friend Michelle McQuigge for connecting the dots, it appears that I may have at last found someone who's actually interested in me and has real potential for a good stable relationship. Sara is blind and like me, is all too familiar with ODSP and the restrictions it puts on life and relationships both intentionally and otherwise. She's close to my age and is also a Christian who seems to take a similar approach to faith and values overall. She's Orthodox and I'm Reformed so we've already discovered some denominational differences but nothing insurmountable between two people who sincerely don't want to wait til doomsday before finding love. Both of us have had past relationships go wrong so we're taking it slow and careful. Nevertheless, even just coming into proof positive at long last that my hope for a less solitary life here isn't completely hopeless has done me a power of good. I guess it won't seem completely real until we actually get together and visit each other. She's in Brantford which is apparently around 40 minutes away or so. That still seems somewhat incredible to me. My sense of geography is apparently based more on how long it's been since I was last somewhere or how long it took to get there ffrom where I lived when I went there. Nothing's really solidified in my mind other than the very small area that I've walked repeatedly these past three years. There are still gaps even in that; Areas where I can easily, if only briefly, get confused.

Now and then, my compassion for people and instinctive urge to be helpful and friendly can get me into awkward situations. Lately, this has revealed itself to be the case when it comes to Lori from Lake Joe. She was the lady who Janet was acting as caretaker for. While Janet has some degree of an adult's understanding, Lori tends to be more child-like in her mental capacity. I really find it hard to be blunt but increasingly am forced to conclude that I have no choice. Once I broke up with Janet, she somehow got it into her head that I'd just start loving her. If I couldn't make it work with Janet, there's frankly no way on Earth that Lori would have worked out. Even as just a friend, she simply doesn't have the mental capacity to sustain an adult level conversation. My patience is unfortunately running very thin with her old circular track of conversation. "Are you looking forward to Lake Joe this Summer?" I'd be a very wealthy man had I a nickel for each time I've been asked that by her over the past months. She almost invariably responds with "not much" when asked what she's been doing. New thoughts or ideas? Afraid not. Presenting her with ideas never seems to get more than a basic serfice reaction. I have no objection to seeing her at a place like Lake Joe where there are other people and things to do. In such circumstances, I feel like I might actually add some good to her life being a bit more patient and kind than others have at times. However, even my patience has its limits. I keep thinking I've made more progress than I have at jently getting her to understand that there are others I would talk with on Skype and that I don't have a whole lot new to say to her. I keep comparing her to a child but in truth, it would probably be easier to cope with a similar situation with a child. I really feel for her and for her parents who obviously try their hardest to add friends and good people to her life. I'm just not the man she needs. I need a partner with comparable mental faculties to my own. I learned that bitter lesson the hard way and I try not to hurt anybody by repeating mistakes. I've endured a lot of loneliness due to people overlooking me as a suitable companion. It still hurts to have to push someone else away who is equally marginalised and lonely. I guess I'm glad of that overall. I haven't yet become the burnt out calous person that part of me has always dreaded slowly turning into as the lonely days and long nights tic past. I still have a soul suitable for and, I hope, deserving loving companionship. The day I lose that compassion and empathy for other unfortunate lonely souls, I'll know that the hourglass has run out and that a fundamental treasured part of me has been eroded away by time. Shurely, God has some woman out there for me. I very much hope that I've at last come across her and that I don't somehow botch things up unwittingly before we've even gotten together. It's hard not to second-guess oneself in the beginning before you're more familiar with each other's communicativeness, routine and such. I think though that Captain Picard got it right in that first episode of TNG. Better to be condemned for who we actually are.

It's approaching noon on saturday as I continue this entry. I'm now the proud owner of a Proform 6.0ZE elliptical trainer. Dad and I picked it out yesterday. It's a floor model so I got it for around half regular price. It certainly felt in good working order and nothing came to my father's notice as being missing. There's always that chance when you go for used rather than new but I've spent far less than I thought it would cost me to get a machine to work out on in the apartment. It's the kind of decision I might have made soon after moving into my apartment had the funds been available. Even without all the tremendous changes in my life that have come since, I would have valued having a private means of working off restless energy long before now. It feels like an investment finally made that was very long overdue. At long last, my quality of life has changed enough to give me more of a tangible sense of what being better shape is actually worth.

I can understand how that might sound strange to someone reading this who has no sense of how blocked off I've been from the more active meaningful social sort of life I've wanted. I've lived years where there's been absolutely no need for even all of the strength and energy I had let alone any more. I just haven't had the personal connections I'd need to go and do more physical things. I'm not often called upon to help move heavy objects or to actually use more vigour and strength than I have naturally as a relatively young person. I've lived through day after day of just sitting around reading, listenning, writing and thinking. Thankfully, there have been some occasions to break up the longer stretches of nothing new. My difficulty with orientation and getting anywhere has blocked me from quite a lot of what a lot of people my age would be doing as a matter of daily life. There's not much point in being Superman f there's no need for such strength in one's life. There have been relatively few occasions outside of times when illness or periods of insomnia where I've felt too exhausted or lacked the strength to do what I've wanted to do. People always talk about how habitual exercise really pays off as you get older. However, when you're young and sidelined from a lot of daily activity, that's a very distant call to conscience. I'm largely content with my health and energy level when insomnia or sickness isn't causing me special grief. I have no memory of having been in better condition. I was certainly less overweight in years past but even there, I can't point to any sort of feeling of energetic slimness and yearn to recapture it. Only in recent years have those quiet alarm bells started hitting home as I've had to contend with the occasional twinge or ache. Age is finally starting to give slight warning signs that I've got to get more in geer when it comes to exercise. Nothing major or overly alarming, but enough to prick through that sense that I can just coast along and take my current ability level for granted into eternity.

I was cut off from going out and seeing any friends I had who couldn't come to get me. That's still largely the case now. However, I've at least made some friends near enough to see more often and do things with. Also, now that I've reconnected with friends in Toronto and am in a permenent location, there is actually somewhere I'd very much like to learn to get to on a fairly regular basis. I have begun to actually have the connections to people interested in taking me places and spending more time out with me. It makes such a profound difference to be in a position where the extra effort it takes me to learn to get to Union Station will open up so much scope for deepenning relationships with old friends. Now that busses automatically announce the stops, I don't think I'll feel quite as easily detached from the process of getting where I need to. That Ariadne app is also going to help me a ton. I don't imagine I'll ever be able to navigate a large city, but I think getting to stations where I can be met with people who can do that is within my reach.

It's monday evening, november 26th. The elliptical machine I bought has arrived and seems to be in sound if a little creeky condition. It's harder than ordinary running would be. I've got a long way to go in terms of getting in good shape if less than ten minutes on it tuckers me out. I'll take it slow and careful going for short stints on it when writer's block or boredom strikes. Before my actual workouts, I'll be shure to do some stretches as the manual suggests. Zombies Run seems to work alright with it as far as I can judge being so unacustomed to actually running on an elliptical. It's more like taking oversized quick steps.

Christmas shopping has begun in earnest for me. I've found a few gifts but there are still my little neaces to acquire interesting things for if possible. Nothing really struck me as "gotta get" for themat Discovery Channel's online store. That's usually my very first port of call and I've found nifty stuff there for them in the past. Alass, not this year. As they get older, I think it'll get easier for me to find the outside-the-box sort of stuff I'd like to as their uncle. I have fond memories of being utterly surprised and wowed by gifts from my aunts and uncles of toys I had never heard of or imagined existed. It's a legacy of fun and imaginative mental stimulation that I'd like to pass on.

There have been other events since August. A good many moments of fascination due to podcasts, books and recently, this year's Massey Lectures from the CBC. Neil Turrock did a terrific job of explaining science's current views of how reality is built and the steps and theories which have taken us there. He brought the humanity back to science for me in a very powerful way. The book and lectures are available on iTUNES. Search for "the universe within" on iBOOKS and "massey lectures" on iTUNES. If you have any sort of scientific curiocity, you'll be absolutely captivated by his pleasant engaging style.

It's now tuesday evening. I had a pretty busy day. Got my flue shot and also a haircut for starters. My order of groceries arrived with only a couple substitutions. I overdid the fruit a bit am confident that I'll be better able to judge how many individual fruits to get next time and not stuff my fridge shelf quite so full. I'm really going to make an effort to snack more on fruit this month and conserve other snacks more. We'll see how that goes in addition to working out on my new machine. I got a new portable 500 GB drive that's much smaller and lighter than I thought it would be. It runs very quietly on USB power. Copying my large audio library over to the drive was without any complications. It did take over two hours for around 250 GB to make the trip down its short USB cable. In many ways, digital space is another very important piece of what constitutes home. I've been collecting all sorts of digital audio over the past twenty years or so. A whole lot of narrated books, dramas, podcasts, movies and music. I don't know what's more astounding; That I've had time in my life to listen to the staggerring amount of it that I have, or that I can now lift that legacy easily with a finger and carry it securely in a pocket. We certainly live in times of wonder.

It's getting later now, approaching eleven o'clock. I've been writing down my reflections slowly due to the pop music in the background. I still find it very hard to write while music with words is on despite recent efforts to get over that hangup. It doesn't seem to matter how familiar or unfamiliar I am with the lyrics. They get in my writing way. I've retreated from this undertaking switching to relaxing instrumental music. A beautiful track from the Princess Bride soundtrack, Guide My Sword, is my reward. In addition to getting myself into better shape, I really mustn't let so much time go past between blog entries. Particularly given this new chapter in life I seem to be enterring, I feel like I should have recorded more of my thoughts over the past three months and more motivated to record whatever comes up next. It feels indescribably refreshing to have the possibility of finding love again in life. It's going to be a gradual journey, but both of us have found out enough about each other to have real hope for something solid and lasting at its end.

It's wednesday morning. I'll be off to brunch at Symposium Cafe soon with my father. We're also going to get me some beer. Tonight, there's the Dam and movie night. Can't remember what the movie was going to be this week. Next week though, it's Bat Man, Dark Knight Rises! Yay! I'll finally get to take that one in. I had hoped to see it in the theatre with friends, but as usual, that just hasn't panned out for me. I believe I'll have better luck with the Hobbit. Paul is interested in going and envited me along for the 14th. It'll be damned nice not to wait ages to see this one. Even nicer to be able to envision a future where I have a special lady in life to experience such cultural events with. It was awesome to find an email from Sara in my inbox first thing this morning. I hadn't realised how much I missed getting those from Janene when I was her special man. I feel so much less burried by the past. It's still there and always will be, but I find I'm think ahead a little more than I would have even a week ago. It helps to have something life-changing and actually attainable in view after so long without that. A sphere of this blessed and unusual life where I have more of an immediate impact and won't work away for years without anything but good conscience to show for it. Looking ahead to December, I'll be seeing friends before Christmas if all goes acording to plan. I'd like to arrange a Symposia Carfe gatherring for December 12. At twelve noon, twelve after twelve to be precise, all five digits in the date will match up for the last time in this century. I'd like to capture that moment for Audioboo and if possible, I'd like to share that with friends. We'll see how that goes or if it gets off the ground at all. I also hope to get together with Stephen after he gets back from his cruise and see friends from Toronto. Hope he feels up to stopping in at my humble apartment and enjoying some hospitality here also. I guess there's also a Christmas breakfast in the building. Not certain when that's going to be but I'll attend if possible. With Christmas at the far end, December is already looking quite festive and busy.

Lunch at Symposium Cafe was up to its usual excellence. I had the chicken souvlaki on a bun which was messy but quite good. Picked up some Japanese beer called sapora or something like that plus an ale called Optical Illusion from Flying Monkey. Never heard of that bunch before so I figured I'd try one of theirs out. Count on me to be up for unusual beers any time. Mom needs a new computer. She used my old one which has just bit the dust at long last. It did so suddenly so she couldn't back anything up. No huge loss other than possibly some of her pictures. Things should be a lot better for her on a new computer that's hers from the word go. I'll just put NVDA on it for those occasions when she needs my help with it. We spent a good part of the lunch going over flyers and prices of various computers. She's going to get a laptop. There's a lot of choice in her price range and it'll stand her in far better stead when it comes to games. She's really taken to those. I've given the best advice I could based on specs but there's also the experiencial element. Thankfully, places usually have demo models that people can use to see if they like the look and feel of various laptops. It's hard to go too far wrong at this juncture for her needs. Dad also wants a new router. He's been having connectivity problems with his iPAD and the one they currently have. My Time Capsule is purring along quite contentedly these days. Haven't had much trouble with it at all. Once they've made their decisions, they'll want me around to help set things up. I'm thinking mom won't have trouble getting her new laptop going. The last few times, it's been a matter of just filling in whatever answers or choices are offered and things have gone smoothly. Hopefully, the router will be similarly cooperative this time around. Mom's quite excited at the prospect of her very own new laptop.

I've managed to do a half-hour mission on the elliptical by taking it slow. It's somewhat easier to sustain a slow loping ramble and speed up when it's important for the game to outrun zombies. Still tiring but doable. The only package I'm current awaiting is the adaptor which runs the fan and console on the machine. Still lots of time to track down something interesting for the kids for Christmas. I've begun working on a list of games to get for mom. There'll be a number from Bigfish Games. She really likes those but I also like to look farther afield in case of any more in-depth unique treasures.

And that pretty much sums everything up. Hope you've enjoyed this somewhat disjointed slice of my life. I'll try and blog more regularly over the next while as events dictate. Smaller chunks are easier to create and to chew. Until next time, dear Reader, picture me feeling energetic and full of hope. I'm sitting in a comfortably warm apartment with a cup of hot Screech tea within easy reach and delightful instrumental New Age music in the background. Damned close to paradise.

Friday, August 10, 2012

An Extraordinary Summer

Hello everyone. The time following my vacation seems to have snuck away from me. Always a danger when nobody is actually paying you to do anything. I had a very good week up at lake Joe. The drive up was lengthened quite a bit by traffic. The Canada Day festivities onsite were frankly pitiful in nature. As a result, I don't believe I'll go on a week with a long weekend. I missed out on the festivities my family usually partakes in with their neighbours. Also, I missed the still very fresh experience of going out on my own to enjoy the fireworks near my apartment building. That said, it was good to have so many familiar people present during my vacation.

Ethen, the musical guy from Thailand I encountered last year, was my roommate this time. He has yet to find a way to permanently stay in Canada. However, his family can come here on vacations. He rejoined them after the week concluded in New York if memory serves. I wish I had thought to ask him about that blind activist in China everyone was talking about a few months back. We got along quite well and I was happy to help with the odd bit of cultural misunderstanding and English word or two. He enjoys the place so much that you'd have to be very self-centred indeed not to be thankful that you live in a free and compassionate country where such a place like Lake Joe could survive at all.

Lindsey was also there. It seems that nothing has really changed in her life. Anybody thinking one can just suck it up and get with the program after losing sight and all memories from childhood up into early adulthood is just plain kidding themselves. I don't get the sense of much movement in any direction emotionally or otherwise. She's still very sensitive and prone to worrying overly about minor things. I've helped her think through a few such incidents thereby saving the staff some trouble.

Jennie, Janet and Lori were also there from last year. Jennie has been going to Lake Joe even longer than I have. She still enjoys it enough to go for multiple weeks. I don't know how she keeps as cheerful as she does with her health condition seemingly certain to degrade sharply long before she reaches old age. I don't know that I would have her fortitude faced with that. She makes the most of life enjoying being a member of the Lions club as well as the sport of curling. She's also an avid reader of this blog and I'd be deeply remiss if I didn't say a hearty hello Jennie.

Janet was just as friendly and helpful this year as the year before despite my breaking up with her. I still think I did the right thing there. We would have grown more bored of each other as the realities of long distance and long visits set in. Our interests and intellects simply differ too drastically for good will and love to overcome. Lori is still Lori, as enigmatic and difficult to comprehend as ever. Clearly though, she had a very good time once again this year.

Thanks to the various water coolers stationed around as well as the ice machine in the dining hall, I could restock my water bottle easily. It has saved me a small fortune in pop I might otherwise have been tempted to purchase. The cabin water is actually high in sodium content and thus unsuitable for drinking to adults with sodium-restricted diets. I have no such issues but found the water from the coolers quite refreshing when combined with ice from the ice machine. The strap holding the cap on the bottle broke. That made carrying a bag or pack around with me necessary more often than it would otherwise have been but it was no great hardship.

Lake Joe has always been a tad schizophrenic towards its clients. On the one hand, there's the place's goal to promote confidence, independence and exploration among blind people. On the other hand, they have to be so very careful about public image and the threat of a law suit. It's a tough balancing act made all the more so due to the frankly dippy nature of many of the clients who end up going there. If you've made it by society's standards of job, marriage,etc, or have the right friends and good mobility skills, you've got plenty of frankly better vacation options. More than one person has remarked over the years to me about how you give up your adulthood by going there. I can certainly see their point but don't really agree with it. Adulthood is a very multi-facetted thing. You certainly do enter into a contract to abide by the rules and deal with what's there. Due to comparatively low investment capital made available to Lake Joe, such resources can be less robust than other vacation destinations. Also, there are disproportionately high odds of running into people who are painfully sheltered from life, mentally ill, or both. Adulthood is certainly tested when such people either unwittingly or intentionally add a dash or large glob of annoyance to your vacation. Do you keep your cool and realize that those who care for such people are likely in more dire need for a break than you? Or, do you flip out and try to knock some sense into whoever it is that's wrecking your day? While I've been slightly tempted by plan B more than once, only three people over the years have pushed me seriously close to that point. And then, there was that psychotic guy who scared a good number of clients and staff when something went sproing in his box of scrambled thought. A good number of us wondered what resources for self defence we might have to employ on that occasion. It's small wonder that the whole mice or men question has yet to be firmly resolved by the lawyers, administrators and staff at Lake Joe.

On that front, the pendulum is swinging in a more positive direction. Things are beginning to improve again when it comes to offsite trips. I went on the ice cream cruise to Gordon Bay where they sell quite good ice cream. The staff took our orders, went ashore and bought it for us and we ate on the pontoon boat. I also enjoyed the Band on the Bay offsite trip. Admittedly, the choices of music played by the two bands that particular night left much to be desired in my humble opinion. However, I found myself gritting my teeth while admiring their obvious skill, stage presence and dedication misdirected though I felt it to be.

The beech was the real centre of my week there this year. I don't think I've spent so much time in the water as I did there in years. The weather was just perfect. There were a number of excellent people there to talk with this year. One of these, Esther, thinks we actually met before. If so, I don't remember. She had a very different take on Christianity and things in general. We spent hours in excellent conversation despite coming up to several points of sharp difference. She was somewhat anti-technology having no interest in learning to use computers at all but feeling compelled to purely for whatever slim chance that knowledge might give her in the fruitless job hunt. The online digital world which has been such a boon to me in so many ways was a pernicious thing foisted upon her. While I had come to Lake Joseph for relaxed restorative socialization, she felt a constant need to do stuff. I was happy to go along at certain points, but other times chose more restful company. That water and weather were absolutely splendid though.

Indoors, not a ton has changed since last year. Most activities are still really not my cup of tea. The food, on the other hand, remains excellent. The only real dining difficulty was pouring one's own glass of juice. The mugs for coffee and tea were fine but the juice glasses were downright tiny things. Even for a seasoned veteran like me, it was a nervous experience. I always dreaded the possibility of a spill which thankfully never happened at my table. I don't think blind precision pouring was slated to become an Olympic sport. Perhaps, I'm wrong there. My laptop got far less use up at Lake Joe this year than any previous. This is partially due to the inconvenient absence of wifi availability. There were definitely some duller moments when I might have made more use of it were wifi present. I also wouldn't have nearly completely burned through this month's 500 mb of data that the plan for my iPHONE makes available to me. I used it for posting audio boos, getting pod casts, checking news and weather.

My belt decided to give up the ghost on the very day I was heading back home. I found the shorts I had left unpacked a tad too loose without the belt. Thankfully, they never actually fell down on me. Carrying a cane without having a holster on a belt was jarring. I had forgotten what a nuisance that could be. The things we don't realize we take for granted.

It was good to hook up with Mark and Wendy on the way back and treat them to lunch at the Burger Pit. The burgers were every bit as awesome as they had told me when discussing restaurants over the years. Things seem to be going quite well for the two of them.

Things have kept pretty busy and unpredictable since I got back. I never figured on a month going by before this blog entry was done. I've seen a bunch of friends, gotten a belt that fits, ordered some things from Mountain Equipment Co-op including two thermos bottles.. and done lots else besides. It's all gotten a bit jumbled in the mind but I've very much enjoyed this stretch of summer.

There have been some extremely hot days where it has felt like well above 40 degrees C with the humid ex. However, my air conditioner has served me faithfully. The new thermos bottle from Mountain Equipment Co-op has been a godsend. Those things keep water very cold for a surprisingly long time even when out in the sun. I've decided to give one to a certain birthday boy. They're designed better than my steel bottle and require no screen to prevent ice from blocking the drinking straw. Very good value for money. The Gerber Dime multi-tool which now resides on my key chain is also an excellent well-designed addition to my travel kit. It's simple enough that it doesn't even come with a manual. Just a diagram that, when my father looked at it, didn't impart any tools I may have missed without its aid. Even those sneaky tweezers, accessed by a very tiny bump that turns out to be a finger nail catch allowing their separation from the whole tool failed to escape my fingers. I did, however, need a bit of help from dad to figure out the rain cover I ordered for my pack. It was one of those Sherlock Holmes moments; Completely mysterious until dad showed me how it mounted onto the pack and tightened around it. At that point, it was completely obvious. I don't know why or how that kind of shit happens to me. Utterly competent with figuring out a new multi-tool while incapable of figuring out how a rain cover goes on a pack correctly.

The first movie night at the Dam went quite well. We watched District 9 and the teens really seemed to get the message with a bit of coaching from Ken. We had a good little discussion after the movie. The discussion lasted perhaps half an hour but I felt ever so much more productive than during months of drop in cessions. No kids showed up for Slum Dog Millionaires so we left early.

We actually did get a few takers for Pay it Forward. Again, we had a good discussion after the movie. After nobody showed up for Slum Dog Millionaires the week before, I had my doubts. These things do resonate with at least some of the teens. I'm also getting to know a few new volunteers. Together, these things have afforded me a greater sense of being able to contribute than I've enjoyed over most of my time at the Dam.

Before this third movie night, I was on an excellent trip with Steve and friends to a cottage owned by his parents. It was good to catch up with him again. We had good times, good food and a nice getaway from ordinary everyday life. I haven't spent a weekend around such stimulating company in quite a long time. Steve has gathered a remarkable cast of friends over the years. I'm honoured that he counts me as one of them. It seems that both of us have a pretty diverse bunch of associates both in terms of mental ability and experience. Both of us also have the same sort of extremely supportive families. I've always enjoyed visits with Steve's parents and they have gotten to know me quite well over more than twenty years of friendship. The same holds true for my parents and Steve. They're always keen to hear news of his latest adventures. We did it all; went on boat rides, swam, cooked, ate very well, talked and relaxed.

After the weekend, I stayed with Steve and we visited some people I haven't seen since my last trip into downtown Toronto at the start of this extraordinary year in my life. It was good to catch up with Earle, Meko, Rose, Josiah and Jenevra. Steve and I also got to have dinner with Michelle Mcquigge. She's an excellent cook and conversationalist. We both thoroughly enjoyed the evening and kept poor Michelle up quite late for a working lady. She seems to have survived though so all is well. She custom made burgers for us. Even the Cesar salad was good and I'm not usually a fan of that. Delicious food for body and mind. Steve and I got back quite late. I was pretty tired but I get the sense that Steve would have cheerfully gone to a bar or something. What a guy. I hope to have him out my way soon so I can give him a restful wholesome time in turn. There are people in this area who remember him fondly from previous all too rare visits. I also take great satisfaction in introducing him to some of the many more sedentary pleasures his affinity for wandering causes him to miss out on.

Alas, nobody turned up for Stranger than Fiction, one of my favourites. I know better than to take it personally. It's their summer, and I can well imagine all the things pulling them in different directions. It's hard to get a sense of how many of these kids have jobs or other major responsibilities and how many would just drift through a summer. Hopefully, they'll discover these missed movies when they're ready to appreciate them. Certainly, my first encounter with Stranger Than Fiction was most timely. If no kids show up, we volunteers tend to chat for a while before heading home. It's been good getting to know them. I still haven't really connected with anybody at the Dam in a way that I feel will last longer than my volunteer time there. It's becoming pretty clear that much like university, this will be yet another chapter in life with fleeting casual relationships which vanish as everyone else seems to move on. There's just not enough opportunity for me to really connect with these teens and do what I'm really supposed to be doing at the Dam. Perhaps, things will pick up somehow in the Fall when there will be some fresh attendees at the drop ins. Meanwhile, I can't really lose with movie nights. At the least, it provides a chance for me to talk with some fellow volunteers.

It's now Thursday evening, august the ninth. Pretty much a solid month since I started this entry in earnest. I did take some notes during my vacation. A whole lot has slipped through the cracks. Meeting Shirley's grandchildren for one thing. They're a couple of very bright little kids who clearly love my friend their grandmother to bits. They brought over a braille book for me to read to them which had print and tactile pictures. It concerned the prodigious eating habits of a very hungry caterpillar. They always caught me when I ... improvised the odd addition to his stupendous repast. It was terrific fun showing them my various talking gadgets.

I've also done my usual amount of reading and listening to pod casts. I've heard some absolutely splendid stuff from CBC Radio this Summer. Frank Edward Nora has been in very fine form with his Overnights cape pod casts. I haven't had time to enjoy as many of those as I thought I might but have been utterly spellbound by his perceptive affable monologues. I've purchased and am reading David Brin's Uplift saga on Audible. I've also gotten the Dragon Lance Lost Chronicles books. That pretty much gives me the complete chronicles portion of the whole Dragon Lance canon that I'm interested in owning. I found that the series took a nosedive with Dragons of Summer Flame. Too much time travel and the whole necessity for main characters to die spun things out of whack for the series. Some of the short stories aren't too bad but really, the best of Dragon Lance is in the original chronicles and these lost chronicles written twenty years later. I've only begun reading the first book but they seem to have recaptured that zip and spirit of the original tales wonderfully. I've adjusted my Audible subscription to the platinum membership plan so that I receive two credits per month. I hope to set a more even pace with my purchases and not feel the need to grab extra credits quite as often as I have over the past year. I also anticipate more months where I don't make purchases and this plan lets me carry over an additional four credits for a total of ten at any given time. We'll see how that works out.

This Summer has also seen a number of tragic shootings. I don't know what possesses people to commit such horrors. Short of self defence or the defence of an innocent person, I can't imagine any circumstance where I would take someone else's life. So many lives have been ended or changed forever because of idiots and the cruel fate of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So many sad stories that it boggles the mind. My heart goes out to all of this Summer's shooting victims and their families.

On a more positive note, this has also been a tremendously exciting season for science. During my vacation at Lake Joe, I received news that the long sought Higs Boson particle, also known as the God particle, has been substantiated as fact. Apparently, you can't isolate this particle or see one directly. However, enough high-speed collisions at the LHC under France and Switzerland have provided data proving its existence beyond doubt. I remember learning about the quest to verify its existence back in secondary school science class. They've done so at long last. I wonder what this will lead to. Earlier this week, my damnable insomnia let me down when I needed it most. I slept through the exciting landing of Curiosity. Thankfully, this latest most advanced rover has made it safely to the surface of Mars and we'll doubtless learn a lot from it. I can't wait for that whole process of ramifications filtering from the lab into mainstream society to begin. Such monumental achievements. What stupendous seeds for deeper understanding have been planted in these hot dry months. I have so many reasons to be thankful for the Summer of 2012. All the major events have happened now, but we're not quite done yet. There's still most of a month to go before Autumn takes hold and I really knuckle down to serious work.

There are still some things I'd very much like to do first. One of these is to take in the Bat Man Dark Knight Rises movie preferably with friends who haven't already seen it. That begins to seem pretty damned unlikely though. I'll likely end up going with my parents just as I have for pretty much every one of the few movies I've felt were worth paying to see. Ideally, I'd like to see such a film with people who liked discussing what they took in afterwards perhaps over dinner or a coffee in some nearby establishment suitable for a good conversation. Somehow though, I simply can't seem to connect with the right people. Same goes for attending festivals or conventions where I might meet some of the authors whose books I've read. How to connect the god damned dots? Over the past two summers, I think I've moved somewhat in the right direction. Enough has happened so that my disappointment in what hasn't happened is far less keenly felt than it was in prior years. For the record, I would like to get to a Derry Queen and enjoy a blizzard with one or more friends before this decade ends. I haven't done that since Janene left me and I'd like to think it's still humanly possible for me to do so without her.

On a somewhat related note, I have no doubt that readers may wonder where I am on the whole relationship question after this splendid Summer. I wish I had an easy answer. I still very much hope to find a special lady to share life with. That hasn't changed. Fairly soon now, I'll be making some changes to my profiles on a couple of dating sites. Frankly, I don't hold out much hope at all for lightning to strike again via that means. However, I want to leave the door open and clean on that front. I think it far more likely that some lady will stumble onto this blog and appreciate me through it. Either that, or some local meeting will occur. All my travels have given me far more of a peek into the down side of relationships lately which has tempered my enthusiasm and increased my appreciation for the stability of life that I enjoy as a single man. It is, as someone once wrote on a Plenty of Fish forum, a different kind of happy. Most of my friends seem to have had far greater luck in finding people of the opposite sex who were interested enough to become intimate. However, far too many of them rushed in and now regret it. This Summer frankly didn't expose me to many couples who I would call contented. I no longer have such a keen sense of time slipping past while I remain single. I still hope for change. God knows it would open up a whole lot in life for me. It would also make solitude a desirable option rather than what I too often find myself imprisoned in. Given the economic reality in which I find myself, I would settle for a love partner who didn't want to live together and marry although that would still very much be my preference. I couldn't go for one of those casual sex things though. To be worth-while at all, there has to be exclusivity and permanence. A marriage in all but name in other words. Something deep, lasting, and built up over time. I'm certainly open to possibilities within reason. Hopefully, God will some day see fit to open up at least one less solitary possibility for me. Meanwhile, given what mess I've observed lately in that sphere of life, I wait a good deal more patiently and contentedly than I have before.

Looking ahead to the approaching Fall season, I plan to go full throttle in two directions; First of all, there's proceeding creatively with the design document for Enchantment's Twilight. The magic system needs to be rounded out. Combat, skills, weaponry, characters, overarching story, and the interchangeable subplots and story arcs that will make up the heart of the game need to be created. All of that simply won't happen in a season, but I'm hopeful to make substantive progress in at least some of those areas. Also, on days where creativity runs dry, there's the whole business of picking through my three central game development books for key principles and lessons applicable to what I'm attempting to create. That process will also eat up a lot of time. I hope to approach things with a bit more discipline than I have for a while now. That isn't easy with so little extrinsic motivation and reward for efforts. The vision I was initially given seemed to indicate that I would reach some sort of critical mass of material which would allow the creation process to begin to feed off of what was already there. Thanks largely to Rose's breakthrough with my magic system, my faith that this will indeed happen has been restored to me. It's still a long way off, but I have confidence that it'll eventually happen. So much has happened socially this Summer that I find myself feeling balanced and recharged in a way I haven't felt for a very long time. As long as insomnia doesn't get its hooks into me too badly, I think my creative engines are ready to rev up once again.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Camping with Shades of Gray

Hello everyone. It's been somewhat longer than I originally intended it to be between blog entries. My camping weekend really should have had its own. Two days from now, I'll be heading off to Lake Joseph for my week's vacation. To top that off, a few things have happened in between. I won't go blow by blow through the weekend for a number of reasons. Despite this editing on my part, this will still be a long entry. I've had a great deal to reflect upon.
The weekend got off to a lamentable start. Ron and his new friend both let time run away from them and weren't ready at anywhere near the time they were supposed to be. Sadly, it seems that alcohol, cigarettes and time have taken a heavier toll on Ron than when I last got together with him. He hasn't lost any of his kindness but his motivation to get things done in timely fashion has ebbed away. It's becoming easier and easier for him to just drink rather than anything else. It's painful enough for me to have the odd glimpse of this inner destruction of good character. I can only imagine what that's like for his parents living across from him. Things were a tad tense on the way up. \mark, our driver and defacto camp leader, is a very time-oriented fellow. He likes things organised, on time and done. We got to the site late and everyone was tired. Due to this, some corners, or should I say tent flaps, were figuratively cut.
For most of the time, there were five of us. Ron, my fellow blind camper and friend. Don, a new friend of Ron's, was a professional chef who has knowingly chosen to work for a restaurant run by mobsters. Adrian, an acountant, was Mark's long-time friend. They had done a lot together and he shared Mark's helpful disposition. He was the newby on this trip who had never gone camping before. I've mentionned Mark before, and last but not least, there was me. On saturday, we were joined by another Ron and his wife Jen. Had things worked out, we would have also had a John. Two Rons, a Don and a John in our rough and mostly merry company. I kid you not.
Conversation took many interesting turns. Poor Mark, doubtless tired from stres and all, was kept awake long into the early morning by Don and I going into the matter of religion. Due to a bad experience as a child, he had become a pretty firm non-believer. My friend Ron has become just short of hostile to the ideas of God and salvation. Between those two, I had my theological hands full and then some. Due to alcohol intake on their part, the conversation suffered from tragic circularity with nothing really getting resolved. I did, however, manage to impress Don a little I think. I gave him a few new points to consider at any rate.
Adrian was a very observant and considerate fellow. Early on, he learned that Ron and I were on the same program with roughly the same income. He noticed that while I had an iPHONE, Ron didn't even have an ordinary cellphone. Basically, the reason for that boils down to Ron's vices chewing up every scrap of spare cash he has. With no such adiction, I have a much easier time making ends meet and saving up for the odd purchase. I'm also free to wait until I come into some spare cash. Ron cannot. Things you're adicted to don't tend to let you do that. I feel no great sense of superiority about this. If anything, it creeps me out. Had circumstances been different, I might easily have given in allowing similar temptations to totally ruin me. I feel a deep disapointed sadness at what vitality and purpose cigarettes, alcohol and so much idle time have robbed my friend of. I still hold out some faint hope that he'll either take up editing Audyssey Magazine again or summon at least enough resolve to pass the torch onto someone else. He has a bad tendency to turn turtle and go silent rather than face up to things. I find myself wishing I could just snap my fingers and fix everything giving Ron a fresh chance at it all. I looked up to him so much as a younger man. Volunteering with St. John's Ambulance for ten years teaching advanced CPR, earning the friendship of such excellent people as Mark, Jamie and others. He inspired me to try to make the best of my circumstances, that even with no job or marriage, there were still plenty of reasons to try to do good in the world. The core of him is still there but it has been badly worn away. Like other concerned people in his life, I've had to reach a point of accepting that he likely won't pull out of this. Come what may, I'll always respect him for who he was and try to be the best friend to him that I can be. I'll pray for him to a God in whom he doesn't believe, hang on and keep hoping. Thanks to Earle's spectacular transformation, I find that still possible.
Getting to talk to a character like Don was worth a great deal to me. I've never met anybody like him. I could never make the moral compromises that he has. I simply couldn't justify them to myself like he manages to do. It was sometimes hard to tell when events happened as he believed they did for the reasons he ascribed to them. There was an aura of "shit happens and I just go where fate takes me." about him. A lot like what seems to have taken hold of Ron. Don was, I think, being completely honest as he saw things. I didn't have a sense that anything was made up for my benefit. There were definitely areas where he wouldn't go into detail. I imagine such waryness is a pretty important survival tool. Despite our differences, I found I liked him on the whole.
The weekend didn't go without its mild misadventure. I won't reveal which of us tried drugs for the first time other than to say it most definitely wasn't yours truly. I've never felt comfortable with the thought of injesting anything stonger than alcohol merely for recreation. I was, however, fascinated to be able to hear someone else do so while sitting beside me. The result was nothing like my hazy preconceptions of possible phantasmic hallucination. So far as I could tell, he perceived nothing that wasn't already actually present. However, he couldn't trust that we or anything he saw around him was actually real. He said everything was like a dream or movie. It seemed to disturb him somewhat. He also retired earlier than Ron, Don and I so I presume the experience wore him out somewhat. There was a hike to a nearby beech with nothing but uncomfortable rocks to sit on. This resulted in Ron, Don and I heading back and having a longer walk as Don got "turned around". Neither Ron or I could be of much assistance. The most annoying of the misadventures was a direct result of friday's late arrival and incomplete work on our tent. It rained on sunday morning and that rain came right through the mesh hole at the top of our tent where a flap ought to have been installed. It pooled in the tent and on the air matress. I packed all my things up damned pronto. Poor Don's sleeping bag was beneath the matress. Not only was poor Don freezing for want of his bag but the unused thing must also have been quite wet and a pain to pack for him.
The food was excellent. Don and Mark really know what they're doing when it comes to food and we ate very well. There was steak, jerk chicken, wonferful mushrooms and grilled vegetables. I never knew mushrooms had gills or that taking the skin off them made them sweeter. Don certainly knows his business well. He feels quite justified keeping his secrets and the better pay offered in exchange for such discression. I gained quite a bit of valueable if sad insite into how corruption can take hold in our lives. It has made me do a lot of soul searching over the past while.
As always, I had a terrific time with Ron and company. All of them have good hearts and you couldn't ask for a safer group to have such an excursion with. I consumed something on the order of ten beers, shared three, and came home with five untouched. I was so caught up in conversation that I lost track of everyone else's tally. This peek into the shadier side of life has proved to be a somewhat somber burdon for me to think on. I feel older than when I left on that friday afternoon. I don't consider myself above corruption at all. I just keep it to a relatively small scale in my own life. I purchase my music and books these days. However, I'm unwilling to part with les honestly gotten gains obtained during my marriage where boredom was the intractable enemy for Rebecca and I. Everyone else seemed to partake in it so why shouldn't we? There was no way we could have pourchased any of it so we weren't costing them sales they could have had. It's so damnably easy to rationalise and justify these things to yourself. It's only later that you realise how hollow those justifications really are. I could have been standing on much higher moral ground had I been willing to deal with less stimulation. But then, I wouldn't have come to a great many realisations and conclusions. I literally wouldn't be the same man I am today. Despite completely believing what Ken told all of us at the Dam about chocolate that isn't fair trade certified, I stil enjoy the occasional Mars bar. My not doing so just won't really make a shred of difference to anyone other than guilt-ridden rationalising me. No, reader. I try to live a good moral life but don't pretend to be above petty temptation. We all fall short of the mark.
I've gotten an external battery for my iPHONE. Seeing as I'm not using its GPS capability rather than my Trekker Breeze, it's a pretty necessary bit of kit. Also, should we have another blackout, I can keep my phone going at least twice as long. I should have attended to that ages ago but the need didn't seem as obvious until I found out how much power location services use up when they're being heavily monitored by a GPS app. Hats off to the developer of the Ariadne app. I'm finding it even more helpful than the Breeze. I suspect that the GPS receiver in the iPHONE has a lot to do with my I prefer an app costing less than twenty dollars over a device costing just short of a thousand. It seems to get a location fix pretty much immediately. No standing around for five minutes waiting any more. Rather than routes, Ariadne uses a landmark approach pointing out the nearest "favorite" at it calls points of interest. You can also examine a list of favorites ordered by distance. There's a map feature which lets you move your finger around a map of your surroundings. It announces or makes sounds for streets and other features. You can zoom it in and out. Also, it rotates so that it shows what you face. I haven't found a way for it to display favorites on the map which aren't streets. Mainly, the favorites I have marked are in a park area around a lake near my building. I've successfully gotten to the Dam and back with it. My father and I walked to Symposium and I put in landmarks to help get me there. This bread crums method seems to work better for me to my surprise. Next on the ajenda after my trip is marking out the route to the bank. It's thankfully a lot easier to edit landmark names and such on Ariadne than it was on the Trekker. Typing quickly on the iPHONE, however, is a skill that continues to elude me.
I've heard from Adam and Steve. Both have gone through rough spots lately. Adam didn't end up getting the job he had hoped would result from his internship. A pretty big disappointment for him. I hope he's got the stamina to stick it out and find another path to something he can live with. He's been pretty busy for the past while so I haven't gotten together with him. That'll happen for shure once I'm back from Lake Joe. I can't really help him all that much. I did connect him to Michelle McQuigge, a blind journalist I know. She's at least very familiar with the territory. Sounds like she was able to inform him of some resources which might be useful. I hope something works out for him soon. It's been a long road of many jobs. A really good one for HP as tech support was lost due to the recession. My friend's work life is only vicariously glimpsed through conversations and bits of it that he recounts to me. I don't have nearly the same feel for him in that sphere of life that I do in others. I just hope something which keeps him engaged and that lasts comes along for him soon.
Job hunting is such a dehumanising process. I wish there was a way to automaticaly grant people the basic opportunity to make an honest living without having to go through that. Later, if they wished, they could seek to improve their job situation knowing that they at least had a contributive place in the work world. You'd think some social scientist or industrialist could work out the details for something like that. There should also be more of a formal system of exploring various career options prior to actually going to university or coledge and being saddled with debt possibly with credentials that don't seem to be valued enough even to get people in the door. If competition could be moved one rung up somehow so that people weren't just left dangling, perhaps, that would at least minimise the soul-sapping waste of young ardour and life when nobody even gives you a damned chance to prove your worth. I've known too many people who have been stuck searching, hoping for the dots to somhow be connected. As it is, I think the current system is wasteful and unsustainable. We've seen an substantial mainly peaceful Occupy movement. Perhaps, if things carry on as they have much longer, we'll see more people like Don, happy to keep his mouth shut and do a good job for bad people. When honesty gets you nowhere, more young people might well look at less societally desireable alternatives. I'm amazed how much more sympaathy I have for a man like Don than I would have even ten years ago.
Steve has had to deal with the death of an uncle. I had a good long conversation with him and have been invited up to a cottage at the end of the month. It's a sort of pre-birthday event. Should be a lot of fun spending the weekend with Steve and a number of his friends. This summer has been so much more eventful than even last year's hot season. I've been enjoying it thoroughly although it has very much depleted my bank acount. My family is willing to help with that a bit thank goodness. I expect things will slow down in the autumn. It's been such a mixed bag of mostly positive experience. I've learned a lot already and we're just getting into July.
Lake Joseph beckons. I'll be going there tomorrow. Things are all packed and ready other than the laptop I'm writing this blog posting on. As always, I have hopes. There's a small chance I'll find a special lady. A somewhat more sustantial chance that I'll perhaps encounter new friends or people with interesting life stories. For all its faults, Lake Joe seems to attract people of good character to work there. You also get interesting campers like Ethen was last year. That, above all else, is what keeps me going back year after year; the people. I could definitely do without some of the mentally challenged folk, particularly the ones who are really round the bend. However, I'm willing to chance that to be in a place set up for blind people. It has always been there when I've needed there to be somewhere different to go which I could afford. I know a lot of familiar people will be up there including Janet and Lori. That will be interesting to hear how they approach their second week at the place. There are always little sociological curiocities of that sort. Lindsey will be up there also. A good guy named Rob emailed me to say he'll be there. We had some excellent chats when last I encountered him. I think the Lake Jo dice are loaded in my favour this time around. A good thing too. I need this week away to rejuvinate and perhaps better integrate some of what I've written about here into my thinking. On that note, I believe I'll sign off and get this entry posted. I'll likely publish a blog entry about my trip upon my return. Meanwhile, you may find the odd audioboo courtesy of my iPHONE. Later, folks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Hello everyone. It's been quite an eventful time since my last blog posting. Eventful in the digital sense at any rate. My netbook bit the dust a little while ago. Thankfully, it did so gracefully enough to allow me to rescue files and clear off personal info. I'm now the happy owner of a new Acer Aspire 3947Z laptop. That would have put a sizeable dent in my prospects for an exciting Summer and completely wiped out my savings. However, my parents came to the rescue there and purchased it as a very welcome and much appreciated birthday present. I did all the research and found what I believed to be the best bang for my buck knowing that it would have to be something I was satisfied with for years to come. It's on the cheeper end of laptops but Acer has packed an extraordinary amount of power in a package that is far more thin than I would have thought possible. You'd think it would overheet but it doesn't. It was the best bang for what I thought would be my bucks right up until the moment of purchase at the counter. I've always appreciated my father's philosophy of ownership. It's not the spending of money. It's the choices you make and care you take to make them with the best possible information. It's your willingness to live with those choices.

Settling into this new digital home away from home has absorbed quite a bit of time over the past while. The data transfer amounted to around 151 gb of mainly my audio file collections, books, dramas, music etc. I'm still gradually installing the odd bit of software but the main stuff is pretty much in place now. The first writing project undertaken on this new laptop is going to be a review of three separate laptop speaker systems. I spent a fraction of the money originally earmarked for the laptop on two of these sets. Another somewhat larger portion was spent on an extended battery. I haven't done anything really techish in a good while. Also, it seems like a good sensible way to reach out a little to the sighted community. My articles in the newsletter published by my church to its members do that a little. However, I haven't produced anything specifically for the non-religious crowd. I consider my blog to be for everyone but am humble enough to realise that my ramblings about life only become possibly interesting when they intersect the lives of others. That certainly has happenned. One fellow found my blog due to a posting on bedbugs. My x-wife and I had to deal with those while living in Oakville and it was a royal pain and stressor on every level. My hope is to have the reviews posted to The Gadgeteer, a site I've grown quite fond of. Check it out at:

It's one of those great stops on the internet for lovers of new creative techno stuff or simply those in battle with boredom. I've often thought that God invisioned gadgets and technology as a salve for the unwillingly single. I find the chance to put them through their paces very interesting. Even more fascinating to me is reading about the ideas and descriptions of small inventions meant to accessorise our lives. I'm very selective when it comes to actual purchases but far less so when it comes to my curiocity.

Rose succeeded in her gole of one hundred consecutive days of at least one and often two yoga classes. In celebration of that remarkable achievement, I hosted a gathering of friends at my apartment. It worked out quite well. Everyone did more work than I had planned on including Rose herself who cooked a delicious turkey. However, everyone nevertheless seemed to enjoy the experience and got to know each other better. It felt wonderful to have my apartment full of such thoughtful and friendly people. Wendy had some great news. She's been hired by a private tutoring agency to teach Math, a subject she's frequently left me flabbergasted with her ability in. I hope the youngsters will appreciate the wonderful talented lady headed into their little lives. Can't wait to hear about how things go when next we visit. There were abundant leftovers. I had around three days nearly free of cooking after that gathering.

Another major event was the Mushroom FM virtual cruise they put on for the station's second birthday weekend. These online events continue to surprise me with how much meaningful interaction can take place digitally. It brought a lot of the separate audiences together who only tend to listen to certain shows and kept them tuned in together for fifty-three hours. The chance to win one of two $222 prizes or snag a totebag certainly proved enough incentive for me to go well outside my usual musical preferences. I did, as things turned out, win a totebag pretty much right off the bat. I did so by instigating the condemnation of a fellow Canadian, one Bruce Toews. I was surprised by how much universal agreement there was that he should walk the virtual plank. What delightful fun... for me. He got accidental revenge upon me later on by playing a truly dreadful version of \Michael Row Your Boat Ashore. I can't stand that song no matter who sings it. It's right down there with that other hated song about how I have a radient and recently minted nickel. Can't stand that one either. All in all, the event was absolutely perfect for those of us who suffer insomnia. I've certainly come away with a good friendly intelligent bunch of new followers on Twitter.

I'm sitting here at the Dam again. Had a brief conversation with one of the young fellows. That'll doubtless be the high point of the whole two hour drop in period. It's been unusually quiet today. Nothing special is happenning that I'm aware of. Seems a tad early for exam-related panic crunching on their part. It's an extremely nice day out there though. It was damned annoying being confused by that section of the route near the playground and basketball court but I can't say I mind the extra time outdoors.

This week has ben pleasant on the whole. After twenty years, I've at last gotten around to seeing how the book Hunt For Red October actually ends. The final tapes in the old copy I once had from the CNIB were worn to the point of uselessness and I never got round to asking for a working copy. Now, it's all digital and I was able to download the book from the online library. At last, I know the actual end of the story as well as the extent of liberty taken by the film.

Ava's sixth birthday went quite well indeed. The family enjoyed a splendid dinner at the Keg and our serving lady Linda went well above and beyond the call of duty to make Ava feel like the little princess we all know her to be. She seems far happier about being six than she was when she turned five. Doubtless, they're in for a Summer of camping and other wild and crazy fun besides. Dan and Allison put a great deal of soul and effort into raising their children as well as their jobs. They must often wind up exhausted. Mom and dad have taken up the role of grandparents with real heart. I can't say I regrette the decision made during my marriage to have that operation to remove the possibility of having kids. As much as I enjoy being an uncle, my creative work and the friendships I'm fortunate enough to have are my worldly immortality. I don't know that I'd make a good father despite often finding myself in the role of a sort of father figure to people. I stil very much hope I get another better crack at being a husband. Absolutely no luck on that score lately. All the ladies in my life are uninterested or already spoken for. It's a frustration that just doesn't ever completely go away.

I took my first shot at doing audio reviews of these speakers I've got. I'm woefully rusty at it and a saturday's worth of efforts came to nothing. I figure I'll try and do the written reviews ffirst over the next while. Perhaps, with my thinking more solidly laid out, the audio creation will go better. I can hope. At least everything's here now including the extended battery. I expected something a lot less slim and more awkward to attach which would perhaps adversely effect the balance of the laptop. What I have is a surprisingly light battery which neatly fits onto the bottom of the back of the laptop and actually changes the keyboard angle for the better. It extends out like a small steep ridge from the bottom. I don't anticipate it snagging on anything.

It's thursday now. Yesterday was a good day. The only real snag was the construction noise outside preventing me from making use of the balcony. The rain and thunder would have kept me in for only part of the afternoon. Today feels too chilly to do the balcony thing. There's a cool wind. Tomorrow is supposed to be an absolutely splendid day. Looks like the new batch of weekly specials have just become active on Grocery Gateway. I'll spend this afternoon working on my order and take advantage of them. I have another two coupons in my spring coupon book and can't quite remember which of them I've already used. One of them saves ten dollars and I'll try to use that one up next presuming I haven't already. Otherwise, I'll save five dollars in addition to any savings on specials.

I guess that pretty much covers it for now. As usual, there's the sense of having missed documenting a great deal of good listenning and interesting thought. Not certain whether I shouldn't just go with the flow and drop the whole blogger's guilt thing about that. I'll keep trying to capture more thoughts as I have them at least on Audioboo. Think it's time I put this post up and got to my shopping on Grocery Gateway.













Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Stuff of Life

Hello everyone.It's been longer than I thought it would be between blog entries. The new normal has settled in. Easter has come and gone once again leaving a legacy of love, forgiveness, family and food. Things have been quite peaceful and placid this past while. I've enjoyed good health and there's been plenty to keep me busy.

Easter was quite good this year. Unlike Christmas where I attended church on neither Christmas Eve or day due to family activities, I caught both services at Easter. There could well come a point in my life when I no longer have any family in easy reach. I therefore take most if not quite every opportunity to be a part of things. Increasingly, more occasions are coming up when I could actually do otherwise. That's still a relatively new phenomenon for me. I got to hear my nieces go on a very fast egg hunt. It was all in one room of my parents' house and the action was caught wonderfully on Audioboo. They found everything in well under the five minute time span I can capture at once with the service. The microphone in the iPHONE is really quite good. I just wish there was more control over the noise cancellation for when you want to capture more of the background noises. I'm glad I managed to record that little slice of life. Things seem to be going well for Dan and his part of the family. They had a great trip to the US recently and the kids seem to be enjoying their days in school. Here's hoping that lasts. I guess it'll be Ava's birthday soon again. Haven't really come across anything superspecial to get for her but I guess there's still a little time.

The new CNIB digital library has at last been unveiled. I've been able to circumnavigate the odd bug thanks to my multiple screen-readers, two browsers and some patience. Firefox seems to work best so far. I certainly appreciate the increased number of books available for download. This includes some long-time cherished favourites like Larry Niven's Footfall and Michael Crichton's Congo. I also enjoyed Jay Ingram's The Burning house, a non-fiction book about what is known about the human brain.

It's been nice catching up with friends lately. I've also started getting to know some additional people over a new app for the iPHONE called Zello. There's also a version for the PC. It works pretty well. Earle and a few other old friends use the app also. It works a lot like a walkie talkie with the addition of channels both public and private. Like most other such apps, I don't tend to have it open unless and until I actually want to chat. I've touched base with a few old friends, Earle included. I've also had some good conversation with Jessica, a lady in the states living in one of these house-trailers I've read about but have yet to actually feel. They apparently shake quite a bit when the wind picks up. Hannah, a listener of Mushroom FM who lives in the Philippines,told me quite a bit about what it's like for blind people there. They don't have any sort of social services or benefits. I was curious whether this provided any greater incentive for people to actually hire the disabled. Sadly, this is yet another of these idiotic theories that business-supportive idiots love to toss out there. Her experience has been pretty dismal. She's supported entirely by her family and can't easily travel around. There's all sorts of pressure to get a job that nobody wants to give her. A degree in computer science could very easily just go to waste and nobody over there would think twice about it. Although not very lucrative, my education has, I feel, been a substantial benefit to me and those who have come to know me in life here. She briefly had a job as an online language translator and conversational tutor but the experience left her feeling very exploited and drained with no money to show for it. I hope she catches a lucky break and wins through somehow. I wish I could help in some way. As it is with many people, I help her by having and taking the time to be an understanding listener who can, at least a little, relate to what she's going through.

I tend to like using gwconnect for Skype communications. Mainly these days, I've been talking with Rose. We make good sounding boards for each other but still run into patches where I tend to run out of patience. I get a strong sense of being productive, of doing something useful when I can be available for her. With all the crap she's gone through, she needs someone to vent to. If I can be even a small part of her journey to truly settle in and become a healthy part of the church community, then I've done a good thing. She has so much sheer knowledge and thought to offer that it takes your breath away. She seems to think some woman's going to find me soon and I won't have nearly as much time for her. As much as I'd dearly loved to believe her, I just can't. Similar to the whole god-guided versus reality-governed universe, all the signs in my experience point to a long stretch of single life ahead of me in a world of increasingly fragile fragmented busy people who don't truly value what I do. I've done everything I can within reason to increase my chances. Certainly, God could pull some long convoluted strings in the fabric of reality and bring a suitable woman into my proximity. While I hope that happens, I won't hold my breath while waiting nor spend any more time moping if it doesn't. I'll do my best to keep positive, to do what I believe God wants me to do, look for any places in life where what I know or discover can be of help to people, and continue to count my life's many blessings.

In around ten days, I'll be hosting a gathering at my apartment for Rose. She has nearly completed her hundred days in a row of Yoga. A damned remarkable feat considering the chronic pain and sleep deprivation she has experienced. Things are at last looking up for her. It helps to finally have a diagnosis. People are less likely to dismiss her concerns and will hopefully appreciate her efforts more in that light.

Work on Enchantment's Twilight continues. Just now, it's entering a somewhat dull patch that I can't say I relish overly. I'm trying to find the proper size for the board to be, a balance between speed of travel and there still being room for special locations and journey-related character development and events to occur to the characters. It would help tremendously if I could settle on a good travel system which felt experientially satisfying. It has to serve the purposes of getting characters from A to B, making travel fun, and adding to the overall atmosphere of the game. Pure random dice rolls don't quite give me what I'm after but neither does a completely predictable deterministic system. I believe I may be inching closer to an acceptable midpoint between the two but won't count my chickens before they hatch in this instance. A whole lot of old preconceptions have been tossed away and for now, a lot of balls are hanging in the air. The whole magic system breakthrough has opened quite a sizeable can of worms. It'll make for a very interesting Summer creatively. Another catalyst for all this change was another excellent game design book I just read. The Art of Game Design; A book of Lenses by Jesse Schell easily ranks among the top three game design books I've ever read. It makes for an excellent counterpoint to Ernest Adams's Fundamentals of Game Design. Thanks to Mr. Schell's more artistic sense of what it takes to achieve a game which gives the experience of fun, I feel much more properly directed as I set about nailing down the core aspects of Enchantment's Twilight. Mr. Adams has given me the order in which to try to accomplish things while Mr. Shell has given me tools to examine that work in a new light. Strange that one of the first results of reading the book is to be faced with the necessity of changing the board length and system of travel. But there's just no getting around it. The results are that critical, a bedrock on which to build the more creative castles in the air. Even in this important work, dealing with numbers continuously for this extended period has tinted life with the gloom that complicated numeric reality beyond the very basics always has. I've just never found mathematics enjoyable. Thankfully, they'll be behind the scenes when the player experiences them.

Looking ahead to the Summer, I'm actually quite confident it'll be interesting in other more social ways also this year. I've got my annual trip to Lake Jo scheduled for the start of July. I hope I can have as good a vacation as I did last year and come back without then getting sick as has happened a couple of times now. Hoping for the start of a steady love relationship on top of that stroke of good fortune is, I think, too optimistic even for me. There'll be the occasional trip to Canada's Wonderland with Carine and Kevin. I'm also hopeful of one or more excursions downtown to see Steve, Earle, Meko and the rest of that gang of good people. Slowly, more zest seems to be coming into life. May that process long continue.

No real action is happening on the relationship front. This past year has already seen two false starts. Not even a nibble from Plenty of Fish even after I finally figured out how to un hide my profile. Figured that might help a tad but experience isn't backing that assumption up so far. Meanwhile, my projects, online chats, visits with friends and a whole raft of podcasts and even TV are coming to my rescue. I'm certainly not wallowing through the muck of time anymore. Still, there's that void in life which just won't seem to go away. Too many thoughts, experiences and moments that I keenly wish were building blocks of a steady love. Thanks to this reserve of cheerfulness and an increasing sense of community connection, the square pegs I try to force into that round void work somewhat better than they once did. And yet, all too often, that emptiness makes itself felt. Is there truly no woman out there unspoken for who would either find my life interesting enough to share or, failing that, actually offer me a stable alternative? I wish I were one of those people who truly believed that God had pre-destined everything. Being patient is a whole lot easier when one has faith that God has picked out someone special just for you. I just can't subscribe to belief in a universe that really works that way. Well-wishers have offered that old platitude that "someone will come along at the right time.", or that whole notion that "the right person" simply hasn't appeared yet but will eventually. Both notions simply ring hollow to me. God need not control everything, solve every problem, and work miracles to a point where they're too common to be called such. Randomness and coincidence are plain facts of life to me. Virtue, compassion and prayer don't always lead to the positive outcomes we strive for. People far more faithful and devout than I have been left to suffer far worse fates than unwilling unemployment and singledom. Compared to getting nailed to a cross, I have the perspective to think I have it pretty easy in the grand scheme of things. That perspective helps in the same way that being thankful your leg wasn't blown off by a landmine lessens one's itch while suffering bites from black flies. I'm still in for countless days alone, conversations with people too distant to ever be more than friendly voices, counting and enjoying my many blessings in life in solitude when I'd be ecstatic to be able to share them.

The weather has been somewhat unseasonably warm lately with a few brutal reminders that we're not quite through with cold just yet. I've begun walking to the Dam on my own again. So far, things are working quite well. There's still a sense of uncertainty. I can't really let my guard down and just casually walk the route. However, it has stuck with me more solidly over the Winter break than any route has before. That area with the three gates and Basketball court is still all too easy to get badly turned around in. However, I'm getting better at recovering when this happens provided the GPS is locked in. The Trekker Breeze is doing quite well these days. I just wish there were more places within walking distance worth getting to often enough so the routes would at last stick semi coherently in my head.

I mentioned square pegs earlier. One of the latest I've tried out is a little audio game called Swamp. It's basically a first-person shooter for the blind pitting players against a zombie apocalypse. I finally remembered that I did indeed still have an old optical mouse and thought I'd give the game a spin. It's actually surprisingly addictive. I've always wondered if I'd actually enjoy such games provided they were accessible. Friends would talk about spending hours playing Doom, Quake and such and I just couldn't fathom how they sustained their focus. What kept them coming back? Now, I have an idea of how that works. If your character dies before reaching the safe zone with his or her loot, everything is lost but one's reputation and experience points. You can be walking around with advanced weapons and loads of ammo, get chewed up before making it back to the safe zone, and be forced to start yet again with nothing but an axe and pistol. It's keenly frustrating but you just keep hoping that luck will at last favour the bold and you'll come back with something impressive to donate for increased reputation. It's the old "Next time, things will work out better" pernicious pull that I guess hard-core gamblers must feel even as they sink into inescapable debt. Added to this pull is the very cathartic act of confronting a purely evil threat with the inability to even accidentally harm one's fellow players. It's a game with no real moral complications. You can blast those zombies to bits without any repercussions other than positive ones. Very unrealistic and therefore, most appealing. A clean safe way to blow off stress or anxt provided one has the discipline to stop. That is, in essence, the moral catch.

Complicating things for me is my poor orientation skill. I'm dead serious here. The game takes place in a map of a town with stores, houses, etc to go on scavenging missions in. I find it extremely difficult to keep a good sense of direction even with all the sonic aids. I've been killed numerous times right by the safe zone because I couldn't find the small entrance to it. Even when I remember in my panic that it's on the west side, it's still just a small gap in a solid wall. Buildings are pretty much deathtraps. It's so easy to get hopelessly turned around in them. I have yet to succeed in recovering an item needed for a quest. I keep getting lost and subsequently killed in the narrow confines of building corridors and other tight areas. This game could and should be used by orientation and mobility instructors. Finding my way around is nearly as time-consuming and frustrating as it is for me in real life. The only consolation is that you can just stop and do something else without actually being lost hours away from home. If you could actually hoof it around as quickly as your character with such impunity to muscles and energy, you really would be damned far away when you discovered how woefully lost you had become. And of course, being able to run at full tilt even while packing a minnigun is another power trip in and of itself. While wielding it, you actually have to crouch and brace the gun before firing it. Walking while wielding it does slow you down to a crawl. However, just pull out your axe or some other weapon and you can quickly carry that minnigun to where it needs to be.

Offsetting the navigation frustration is the pull of participating in a community of sorts. You can hear someone getting chewed to bits by a zombie and come to their rescue. Some of the expert players will actually carry on text conversations while on missions. The mouse really does help you move and shoot with more fluidity and precision. I keep hoping that I'll come up lucky and get enough reputation points to get me out of this starting grind and into the larger parts of the game like missions. Alternatively, I keep wondering when the painfully slow progress plus the annoyance of finding my way around will dissuade me from continuing to play at all. I've already seen the better part of two days pretty much vanish on me. Were it not for the fact that I've rearranged cords and items on my desk so that the long-neglected mouse has a home, I'd have to pinch myself to be certain I hadn't dreamed it and that today is, in fact, Thursday already! I haven't spent anywhere near that much time playing King of Dragon Pass yet and it offers far more substance and sense of meaningful accomplishment. How has Swamp just sucked away so much time? Even though I can barely get around, I think it's that sense of there being a community of real people not unlike myself who are engaged in an unreal but nonetheless epic quest for survival. I'm fitting yet another square peg into a round hole and just now coming to grips with what an imperfect fit it is. I dearly wish I could get lost in a real experience, even the relatively ordinary experiences of daily life, with real people on a more regular basis. Most of all though, I wish I could find love with a woman who shared most of my values and at least some of my interests.

Looking at the larger picture, a few news items have caught my interest over the past while. This being the hundredth anniversary of the Titanic's doomed voyage, all sorts of things are happening to commemorate it. An actual ship with passengers has set sail and will follow the Titanic's exact route across the Atlantic. At least one of the people I follow on Twitter is interested enough to have tuned into a feed reenacting the voyage with tweets about events at the times they occurred. There's a kind of creepy fascination that makes me pause for thought whenever I come across one of those. I've been meaning to find out more about how the modern reenacted journey is doing but have yet to get around to that. There's also a large collection of recovered artefacts which may go up for auction. That's sparking quite a controversy over the prospect of profiting from what some see as a grave site. Personally, I'm rather inclined to hope that the stuff of my life, understanding my circumstances and thoughts, etc, is worth bothering with enough so that the stuff of my life doesn't end up lying untouched and unwanted somewhere slowly disintegrating. The mind boggles at the risk and ingenuity needed to recover anything from that depth. Surely, those who have risked everything to recover historically valuable items deserve something for their troubles. Archaeology has rid us of many false conceptions and improved our understanding about where we've all come from.

Apparently, this is also the active season for the large hadron collider so there could be some interesting news coming from that quarter over the next while. Thanks largely to Rose, I'm now far more likely to hear about scientific developments via Twitter than I am anywhere else. I've begun to follow @bigthink, a fountain of large-scale thoughts scientific and otherwise. It's another square peg in a round hole making me feel more connected than I actually am. There have been some wonderful podcasts lately. From Our Own Correspondents is up to its usual quality. Everything from a meeting with a Japanese travelling poet and a Buddhist monk who drives fast and loves progressive rock to reporter's reflections on what it was like to cover the war in Sarajevo twenty years ago. I have vague memories of hearing news about that. It was certainly felt on the erindale Campus where I got my degree. Tapestry has let loose some excellent food for thought. I enjoyed hearing the perspective of an agnostic who, much as I had, made peace with his position of not knowing for certain whether there was a God. There was also an excellent episode which looked at the collision of religion and comedy. Am I forever doomed to hear so much excellent food for stimulating conversation while completely alone? It damned well feels like that's the case.

In order to balance the books, the government is making cuts all over the place. We're going to lose all sorts of people from health workers to food inspectors to border guards and people from the CBC. There's no real stopping this. We voted for this majority government and it can now pretty much do what it pleases. We're going to experience as a country what less of pretty much everything one would really want from a government feels like. I worry that these cuts will go too far and we'll end up with completely preventable tragedy as a consequence. Dad, on the other hand, thinks there's sufficient excess bureaucracy built up everywhere so that there really won't be much impact other than actually better balanced books. Back on election day, I was completely disenchanted with the continual wobbling about our government seemed to be stuck in. Elections kept being called before anything really substantial could get done. I was absolutely disgusted with the degree to which our leaders just couldn't work with each other instead of trying to grab power. Well we're now most definitely headed solidly in the direction of a smaller civil service and government. I hope those who now wield the axes in Ottawa are a heaping lot better at precision waste reduction and job cutting than I am at killing zombies with my digital axe in Swamp. I would have felt a whole lot better had the Liberals carried the day instead of being utterly decimated. Still, it could all work out for the best. the new NDP leader at least sounds good when he talks. We'll see what he can accomplish while leading the official opposition.

Tomorrow, I'll be heading over to Michelle and Gerry's. It's been a little while. Only one computer problem known about in advance effecting Michelle's ability to hear audioboos. At least I've already supplied the material for testing. I don't expect it'll be a very hard nut to crack but I've been wrong before. She's had some interesting and different problems with her computer. Nothing beets that one where the bloody clock wasn't set and therefore, nothing would work since it reported a date around 2005 or so. Her version of Jaws had yet to be written so its security wouldn't let her computer actually talk. Unbelievably simple presuming one can see and read the clock. Utterly insoluble without sighted help/knowledge. I would have suspected everything else first including the sound card. It's always fun to expose both of them to new thoughts and ideas. I always come away feeling like I've done something worth-while. They appreciate my efforts whether or not they're successful and are just all-around good simple folk caught in the interweb age.

I guess that pretty much covers what sticks in the mind from the past while. I've doubtless forgotten to write about some stuff I discussed in my far more frequent boos at:
I find it a whole lot more natural to just let those loose but will keep trying to update this blog a tad more regularly than I have of late. Until next time, faithful readers.