Category Archives: NaBloPoMo 2012

Demo: Making a Text to Speech Audio File with the Mac

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I’m going to be writing up a cool book on echolocation tomorrow. I would do it today but I have a demo I want to record and I want to take advantage of an empty house since B is off this week and he’s out right now. This is different because usually I record stuff and then write up the post. This time however, I’m going to use this text to demo using the Mac to make an mp3 recording of a text document.

The book on echolocation prompted me to discover this because the author sent me a text file containing the book. I have no way of holding my place in such a large document so my friend Ricardo explained how to make an mp3 of Voiceover reading the text.

In the demo, I am going to convert this text you’re reading into an audio file. It’s so cool!

Text to Speech Demo

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Filed under Alex, apple Inc, demo, iTunes, NaBloPoMo 2012, techie tips, Voiceover

Book fifty-one in 2012 – “Catching Fire” (Book Two in the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins

This book was soooo good! I liked “The Hunger Games” but “Catching Fire” outdid it, in my opinion. Suzanne Collins is so good at character development that you really believe they are real. The way the characters grow because of their awful experiences couldn’t have been easy to do. I admire Collins’ ability to know her characters and get inside their head.

I can totally understand why some parents have issues with their young adult children reading these books. On one hand I don’t think teenagers should be treated with kid gloves and should be allowed to read what they want, but I’m also not a parent. When I think about a twelve year old reading these books, I shudder. Some of the scenes are gruesome even for me.

While this world is well into the future and hopefully will never happen, it’s believable which makes it really scary. This book takes the characters we grew to love in the first book and plunges them into events unimaginable. I did not want to put it down! The movie is going to be amazing I think.

I already started the third book, immediately after finishing the second. I am so glad I decided to read these! I highly recommend.

Oh, yesterday I played a clip from some reality show to hear this girl sing and I couldn’t help but get goosebumps and frown as I listened to the crowd, thinking about the revolting way the people watch the Hunger Games and make the killing they’re favorite TV show. It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that some day this reality TV hungry crazy world will create something similar.

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Harry Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

43. “Lost Light” (Harry Bosch #9) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/17/12

44. “The Narrows” (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/21/12

45. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn – finished 10/25/12

46. “The Closers” (Harry Bosch #11) – Michael Connelly – Finished 10/27/12

47. “Echo Park: (Harry Bosch #12) -Finished – 10/31/12

48. “The Overlook” (Harry Bosch #13) – Michael Connelly – Finished 11/4/12

49. “The Hunger Games” – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/9/12

50. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood – Finished 11/13/12

51. “Catching Fire” (Book Two of The Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/18/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, NaBloPoMo 2012

How cracked.com influenced my Sunday

I never thought a Cracked article would start my day off nicely. Today the Twitter account posted:

@cracked Read “5 Inspiring Stories for Anyone Feeling Cynical Today” and try to be a bit less of a bummer for once. http://bit.ly/SWEdn2

If you’re not familiar with Cracked, trust me when I say this is not a typical post of theirs. I tend to read Cracked when I need some good belly laughs at something sarcastic and usually vulgar and very politically incorrect. So I was intrigued when I read that tweet and immediately opened the link. I actually got misty eyed reading it and instantly knew I had to share. It set the tone for the day and so far I seem to only be encountering positive and happy stuff. Such a switch! Thanks Cracked!

I knew I wanted to share that in today’s post which works out nicely since I’m still waiting to post another thing I have planned. What to add to it though? I didn’t want to just include one link. Well, animals almost always come to the rescue it seems. After I read that article I was feeling all warm and fuzzy. B was up waiting for football to start and the day felt relaxed. I got up and did something, refill coffee? When I returned, Jayden was sitting pretty on his side of the couch which made me laugh. I leaned towards him and put my arm around him. I pulled my feet up to my left and Jayden gave me kisses and then leaned into me and flopped down, pinning my upper body between his back and the couch. His shoulders and head were cradled perfectly in the ninety degree angle of my legs and belly and my head rested on his hip. Spinelli decided to get in on this and she perched on my left hip and leg. It was so warm and cozy! B snapped a pic, so I thought I’d share. It’s a link to a Twitpic since I still haven’t figured out uploading pics to WordPress. That cuddle session just added nicely to the happiness that Cracked article had awakened in my heart on this Sunday.

I decided to share the photo with my friends on Facebook. I rarely read Facebook anymore but since I was already in after sharing the pic, I decided to read through some status updates. This could have been very dangerous since Facebook seems to be the place people love to air their grievances with society. Twitter too, but I have filters in place there. Luckily I recently cleaned up Facebook and narrowed things down to only those people who don’t make a habit of complaining in every other status update. I am so incredibly glad I decided to browse through updates because I got to find out that an old friend was the first woman to cross the finish line of this year’s El Tour de Tucson! How cool is that! I knew her back before she started riding and I’m just so proud of her! I would have missed that had it not been for the picture. The picture might not have happened had the Cracked article not given me the warm fuzzies.

After B and I have what is our new Sunday tradition of delicious breakfast for lunch, I’m going to soak in the tub. This Sunday is shaping up quite nicely!

Hope I didn’t just jinx it…

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Filed under coffeeholic, fellowship, gratitude, in the news, Jayden, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2012, num num food, plugs, Spinelli, sports, twitter me this, wow

And it would have been fine if it hadn’t been for those meddling headphones

This is why I really shouldn’t make plans. Strike that, I need to be prepared when a wrench is thrown into the works. It’s not even like I had crazy awesome plans, but I had my Saturday pretty much mapped out to be leisurely after a stressful week. I planned to give a book a read through to write up a post on it today. I managed to read the book but then…enter the wrench.

Last night I discovered something I didn’t know about my Mac that is pretty sweet. I had this book in a text document but I have no way of holding my place in such a long document so I planned on recording system audio during a time I wasn’t on my computer. Luckily I mentioned this to my Mac expert friend Ricardo and he informed me that the Mac will convert text to speech into a sound file in itunes. No way! Way! He explained how to do it and it worked. So Today I had an audio file of Voiceover reading the book just like an audio book with the ability to play and pause when I needed to.

So after I was done with my morning reading which included an email with content that got my blood pressure up and my heart rate pounding which started a headache (this is foreshadowing), I settled back to go over the book and drink my coffee.

B stepped out to run errands so I took my Logitech USB wireless headphones off and plugged them in to charge so I could enjoy the book over my speakers and also to throw some additional charge into the headphones. Sometimes on Weekends the charge doesn’t last all day and while I can use the headphones while they’re charging, I don’t like being tethered now that I am so used to the freedom of wireless.

I was jotting down notes for my write-up when B got home and I plugged the receiver for the headphones in and switched them on. Nothing. Hmmm. Switch off and back on. Nothing. No beep. They usually beep when switched on and then beep again when connected. Nothing. Over and over, on and off and on. Nothing. Unplug receiver. Nothing. Headache getting worse.

I dig out the old Logitech headphones that I had taped together to salvage them until B got me a new set. Nothing on those. I switch off and on. One beep. Ooh! Then nothing. Both sets were dead. Head is pounding.

Ok, so remember the vicious murder of the coffee maker?

I stood up with the Logitech and tightly grasped the earpieces in my hands.

“I’m going to break this,” I grunted through gritted teeth.

“No!” B exclaimed, making the moment sound very dramatic.

“Why not? They’re already dead!” I said, stomping towards the kitchen, prepared to snap the things like a wishbone. B stammered something and I came to my senses. I’m not sure if it was him or the Lexapro that kept me from destroying the Logitech. It turns out the charger for the headphones will work to charge B’s phone via his computer, so at least something good came from it. For some reason, both dead Logitechs went back into my drawer.

I began the task of shopping for a new set of wireless headphones. The major thing I didn’t like about the Logitech was the behind the neck design. The tops of my ears begin to ache after prolonged use and I can’t rest my head back on the couch. So deciding to try something new meant that I wanted to find a set with the old headband design.

If anyone has any questions about wireless headphones for computers, I think I read about nearly every kind out there. I asked Twitter for recommendations and it failed me for the first time. No one had opinions which shocked me. Actually one person did recommend a Plantronics set but that was after I finally settled on something.

I don’t remember how I finally found these but I decided on this Soundblaster Tactic3D Wrath wireless usb headset from Creative> After reading that page I was beginning to drool and after I read reviews on Amazon from extreme gamer types I was sold. Headphones are an extension of my computer for me. I need to be able to hear my screen reader when B has the TV on and I also don’t want him to have to hear my computer. Not only that but my music, books and movies as well. Oh and let’s not forget baseball! They must be wireless, especially for baseball, so I never miss a minute of a game when I have to walk away from my computer.

B had already agreed that a Best Buy trip would be in order once I found the headphones I wanted. I checked the website and they carry them but it said that store delivery or something wasn’t an option. That worried me. I called to see if they had them. After getting through the Silicone Sally prompts, I was told one caller was ahead of me. Loud, no not loud, blaring synthesizer Christmas music began pumping through my bluetooth. Headache. Got. Very. Very. Pissed. I thought to myself, if they have the headphones, the obnoxious music will be worth it. They didn’t have the headphones.

This was a few hours after the death of the Logitech. I had my old wired headphones plugged in and had even tried paring the Plantronics bluetooth I use for my phone to the Mac but it sounded awful and I scared myself, thinking I had killed the connection between it and the iPhone forever haha.

So when we found out Best Buy didn’t have the Soundblaster headphones, we were both dumbfounded. What other electronics stores are there? We both drew a total blank. Finally I just Googled electronics stores and remembered Radio Shack which made me remember Gamestop and SWS. Neither Radio Shack nor Gamestop had them. The man at SWS sounded regretful to inform me he didn’t carry them either but at least he had the knowledge to tell me it would probably be hard to find Soundblaster devices in stores. He told me they make soundcards and such but that I’d need to get the headphones online.

“Yeah, my headphones broke today so I was hoping to replace them today,” I said, defeated. He went on to tell me he carried Logitech and I thanked him and hung up.

I went back to Amazon and put in the order. I’m saving fifty bucks. Go Amazon! In the meantime I’m tethered to my desk. I kept getting tangled in the chord . Once you go wireless, you just can’t go back! I began to wonder how I could sit on the couch with my headphones when I remembered that my Samsung Gomic has a headphone port in it. Perfect! So I’m using that as an extension for now so I have a little more freedom of movement.

I said to B after that was all over with and we ordered dinner that this was the first day on the Lexapro that I really felt my emotions go out of control. He said the headphones must have just been the last straw. Just yesterday I wrote about taking care of the little things. They can still totally sneak up on you. This morning I had a hard time catching Timmy so I could put him in the room to keep him from escaping while I took Jayden out. I collapsed on the floor sobbing, and the darned cat came right to me. This was after awakening from a nightmare that someone had stolen Jayden. Then the email happened, then the headphones died, all after a tough week. Perfect recipe for a breakdown. It wasn’t awful though and getting some emotion out was actually a relief. Good floor time with Jayden made the headache go away.

At least no electronics or appliances were harmed in the making of this day.

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Filed under Amazon, apple Inc, coffeeholic, dream, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2012, proud geek, screen reader, Silicone Sally, Timmy, twitter me this

What is unique about this post?

This post is going to be at least five hundred words about my mundane Friday, however there is going to be something about it that readers probably won’t notice until this fact is revealed. Originally when I read this writing prompt, a word count didn’t factor in. I decided to increase my difficulty by adding a word requirement. A topic wasn’t given; I decided just to write whatever came into my head.

I have made Fridays my weekday to do my chores. This entails vacuuming as well as mopping. I also tidy up kitchen counters along with washing dishes. I like to utilize soapy dish water to wipe down counters as well as my coffee table. Jayden also gets a thorough brushing before I vacuum so that Mr. Eureka takes care of shed yellow doggy hair.

I told Georgie this morning as we talked while I swept that I know I am doing well mentally when I make sure to do this cleaning every week. The benefits are many. My house stays clean which helps my mental state. Doing it every week keeps it easy since it never derails so badly that it needs hours upon hours to complete. Even when I have intervals of severe spoon depletion, it doesn’t take much time to catch up upon recovery. I’m also never mortified when I have a surprise guest.

After I finish these chores, furniture gets sprayed with Lysol, airy spaces with Febreeze room freshener. When this is completed, my house feels so fresh that I am able to relax back, feeling accomplished.

Little things really matter, I have come to discover. My conversation with Georgie this morning reminded me of little things I keep a close watch on when it comes to my mental health. Since I became sober, I have known that ignoring little things will make them fester into large things. It tends to be easier to deal with large things as they happen than it is to deal with lots of small things. It doesn’t seem like it should make sense, I know. When looking at life as a huge picture however, dealing with small things as they happen seems to make life’s insanity more manageable. In my life this translates to taking care of little things daily before they balloon into gigantic things. I don’t always succeed at this however I make a valiant effort. Being medicated is a huge advantage in this life design since I don’t become overwhelmed by small things like I used to.

I took a long break from writing this since Carol called. Naturally we talked a long time since we’re incapable of having brief conversations. I am dealing with another stressor, (what is life without stressors?) so talking to my best friend helped.

I took a shower since I desperately needed it after cleaning. I suppose this is done since I don’t want to be writing before sleep just to include an entire wake cycle in this post.

I have decided to wait on revealing what is unique about this entry. Go ahead, leave a guess in a comment. I will refrain from publishing comments until Sunday or so. To those following Twitter accounts giving writing prompts, no cheating! Keep your knowledge to yourself. Does your blog have a post such as this?

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Filed under fellowship, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2012, random stuff, spoons, twitter me this

Demo: Creating custom audio labels using Digit-Eyes

This is a demo of using Digit-Eyes to create custom audio labels. If you are unfamiliar with Digit-Eyes, you can listen to my first demo and you can visit www.digit-eyes.com/ for more information and to purchase the app and labels. The website also allows you to print your own labels if you have a printer and sheets of blank labels. I don’t have a printer, so I have the pre-printed labels from Digit-Eyes.

This demo is about thirty minutes long. Today was the first I had recorded any custom labels and I did some practicing before recording. As with any new technology there’s a learning curve. Just be patient and before you know it, it clicks.

Digit-Eyes Custom Labels Demo

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Filed under apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, demo, gratitude, iPhone, iTunes, NaBloPoMo 2012, plugs

Book fifty in 2012 – “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood

At some point in the recent past, the Audible Twitter account tweeted that they had “The Handmaid’s Tale” narrated by Claire Danes. I love Claire Danes so I went and read the description of the book. It sounded interesting and I thought maybe a bit futuristic somehow so I used an extra credit I had and got it. I also followed Margaret Atwood on Twitter and soon discovered that I would need to wait to read this book.

Atwood retweeted many people who shared their fear that if President Obama were not reelected, we could be looking at a future like the time in the book. I didn’t realize how old the book was until I was about halfway through and decided to look it up. It was written in the mid eighties and I was stunned, since the subject matter is so close to what was discussed in the politics during this campaign year.

I had taken my own advice and put off reading this book until I knew who the President would be. I’m not sure I waited long enough. It was all just a little too close to the fear I had felt just months ago, literal fear of being a woman and what would happen if those who, even being so incredibly against big government, wanted to regulate the female body and what was done with it.

I cannot say I enjoyed this book. I am not one to walk away from books but I almost did with this one. The main character was my age. I imagined Claire Danes since I had been a fan of hers when I was a sighted teenager. Hearing her read the part of this character who goes through unimaginable things made it all too real. A friend told me to stick with it, that the female gains some power, so I did.

I like a novel I can escape into. I like a novel that gets to me emotionally, sure, but this one? I found myself getting angry at Margaret Atwood. I wanted to shout at her, “just because you had this story in your head, why did you have to share it! Why did you have to put this in my head?”

In this book, women are reduced to nothing more than vessels for child bearing. Pregnancies must be carried out no matter if the fetus is healthy. they do not do tests on the fetus’ because it does not matter if it is unhealthy. No pregnancy is terminated. Women who give birth to babies that die are classified as unwomen. They are shamed. It is horrible.

I really wish I didn’t have this book in my head. I might be glad in the future to be able to say I read it because it seems like a classic already. It just reminds me of being forced to read books in high school that I didn’t like.

Before I started the book, I tweeted something like, Now that I know we aren’t going towards a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ like society, I can finally read the book by @MargaretAtwood. To which she replied, “That direction” ain’t over. They’ll be back, at the state and Congress level.”

How true. And how absolutely terrifying. I think for me this book summed up all the fear of this year. After the elections there was a tweet that read something like, you know your party is in trouble when you say, “the rape guy didn’t win” and the reply you get is, “which one?”

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Harry Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

43. “Lost Light” (Harry Bosch #9) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/17/12

44. “The Narrows” (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/21/12

45. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn – finished 10/25/12

46. “The Closers” (Harry Bosch #11) – Michael Connelly – Finished 10/27/12

47. “Echo Park: (Harry Bosch #12) -Finished – 10/31/12

48. “The Overlook” (Harry Bosch #13) – Michael Connelly – Finished 11/4/12

49. “The Hunger Games” – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/9/12

50. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood – Finished 11/13/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, in the news, NaBloPoMo 2012, politics, twitter me this

A New Desk

I had another post planned for today but I got busy with Carol. Her friend found her a new desk that works nicely in her apartment so I got her old one which is just too nice! You can’t compare since you never saw my old setup, but trust me, it was pretty bad. I had an old laptop cart with this humidor next to it for some space. There was no leg room and it was just not comfortable.

I’m too tired to figure out how to upload images, so here’s the link to the Twitpic. I’m told it’s a decent picture haha.

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Filed under fellowship, NaBloPoMo 2012, treat for me, twitter me this

Twenty Cool Things About Being Blind

I was wondering what to write about today when this random idea popped into my head, so I quickly jotted down a list of things that are cool about being blind:

1. Not seeing horrible sports injuries replayed over and over and over again.

2. Laying in bed or on the couch in pretty much any comfortable way while watching TV since looking at the screen is not required.

3. Being able to control a computer from anywhere in the house with just wireless headphones and keyboard. I rarely sit in a desk chair anymore.

4. Saving a lot of money on electricity since lights are not required.

5. Always looking twenty-nine in my mind.

6. Guide dog Jayden. ‘Nuff said.

7. No more paying for car insurance, gas and repairs.

8. Audio files are so much smaller than video files.

9. Not being forced to see all the images the media wants everyone to see.

10. Not seeing pics of food.

11. Hands free snuggled up eyes closed reading.

12. Food tastes good no matter how it looks.

13. No one judges me for eating with my hands. Or if they do, I just don’t care. Because they are mean.

14. Everyone is beautiful in my head.

15. I don’t see the faces of people after tragedies.

16. I don’t see destruction and poverty, pollution, trash, bruises.

17. I no longer judge my body by how I see others’ bodies.

18. My baseball games are never ever blacked out since all I need is radio.

19. I’ve never had to see skinny jeans.

20. Being able to do the morning ritual without opening sleepy eyes.

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Filed under baseball, blind opinion, humor as coping skill, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2012, sports

A Letter to Fifty-Three Year-Old Me

Writing the letter to my fourteen year-old self was fun. The writing prompt I took the idea from said to follow it up the next day with a letter to myself in twenty years. I didn’t give it much thought until it was the next day and the thought of the future was too scary. I think today I am ready to do this since two fictional worlds I’ve dived into recently are more scary (hopefully) than twenty years from now will be.

So, fifty-three year old Ro, I hope you are alive to read this. If you are not fifty- three year-old Ro, meaning you are Ro and not fifty-three yet, don’t read this. You can’t read this until November 11, 1032. Oh wow.

Oh and readers, you should leave a comment. If this blog is still here in twenty years, hopefully it is, your comments will be in a time capsule of sorts haha!

Dear fifty-three year-old Ro,

Wow, so did I make it this long? Mom didn’t make it to fifty-three so if I’m reading this in twenty years I better be grateful. Remember how you thought you’d never see thirty because of how crazy your life was and then you literally didn’t see thirty because you went blind at twenty-nine? Yeah, I still think that’s funny today. Do you still find it funny in twenty years? I hope so, because without humor there’s just no point.

Do you need a refresher of what life was like for you at thirty-three? Well, I’ve been with B for just over five and a half years now. Are we still together in twenty years? If we are, what is he like? Did he ever start eating vegetables? I know, that’s probably a really stupid question. My three best friends are Carol, Chupa and Georgie. How are they? Ok I’m misting up thinking about these people in twenty years. Do you remember being convinced that everyone would die before you and you would be left alone in this scary world? That was only like two months ago, before I started Lexapro. Thinking about the people I love the most and how it will be in twenty years is starting to freak me out. It’s a good thing I’m medicated.

What about Erik? He’s my only friend who’s younger than I am. Only by a few months but still. How is he? I hope you are still in touch with him. We’ve been friends so long and there has always been gaps where we lose touch. Although ever since I went blind and started using my Macbook, we haven’t lost touch, so I hope in twenty years we’re still close.

Ok, so speaking of my Mac, what is technology like? Do people have stuff implanted in them yet? I always imagine little nano chips for phones and stuff. I mean seriously, the technology has to be amazing in twenty years! Or is it scary? Has it gotten out of control? It could go that route too. Right now you have an iPhone 4 running iOS 6.0.1. The latest iPhone is the 5. What is the iPhone in twenty years? Do you have an iPhone? Has any other phone ever rivaled the accessibility of the iPhone? I have a Macbook they don’t even make anymore. I was almost completely out of space on it so I started converting videos to mp3. What do you have in twenty years? Do they even make laptops anymore? Do they use wires at all? I can’t imagine there would be wires anymore. Am I right?

What animals do you have? Right now I have Jayden and Timmy and Spinelli and Fi. I can’t think about the future without them.

Are you still blind? Did they figure out how to give you new optic nerves? If so, did you get them? As of right now, I can’t imagine seeing again. I’m so used to things the way they are, so I don’t know if I would try anything to see again. I remember when I first went blind I wanted more than anything to see again, even just a little bit. I was ready to get on a plane and go to the UK where they were experimenting with a cancer drug that helped MS patients regain lost functions. Now though? I couldn’t imagine testing a drug. It’s a scary thought. So what have you done in twenty years?

I’m afraid to think about what the MS has done to me in twenty years. It’s impossible to think about my future self though without wondering about that. I won’t think about that now. Maybe you’re reading this in twenty years and smiling because nothing horrible has happened. Is that too much to ask for?

There really isn’t much more to write. There isn’t much to say to a future self beyond asking questions. I can say I hope you are as happy as I am today. Though I hope you are happier. I’m happy, but I could be happier. I just hope you aren’t less happy. I hope you’re still sober, though obviously when it comes to that I can’t really think beyond today. If you’re sober and still smoke free and at least as happy as I am now, then you’ve got it good.

Oh hey wait, I have to ask, is there equality? Have people finally quit being so damned uptight about gay marriage? Has racism and bigotry finally really gone away? Do women still have freedom over their own bodies? Has the insanity over birth control gone away? Did people start finally focusing on the real problems? God I hope so. If there isn’t more love an acceptance in twenty years, how are you managing?

I’m reading “The Handmaid’s Tale”, do you remember reading that book? It’s incredibly depressing. It’s what could happen if the crusty old white guys don’t stop wanting to control the female body. It’s terrifying. I hope it’s nothing like this in twenty years because if it’s going to go down that path, I hope the Mayans were right. If they were right, you won’t be reading this in twenty years, no one will.

Ok wow, this turned very doom and gloom. I was afraid this would happen when I thought about writing this letter. Writing to fourteen year-old me was fun because I don’t fear the past and because I knew what happened. This letter is nothing but fear of the unknown and my dwindling hope for a happy future.

I guess my only hope is that there’s just more love in the future. There has to be, or the future is grim grim grim.

I should end this on a happy note. Hmmm, happy. So have the Rays won a World Series or five? Ten? How long did Evan Longoria stay? Please tell me he didn’t end up with Boston or New York. What about David Price? Did I ever meet any of them? How are all my online friends? I don’t want to start naming them all because that’s a lot and I’m sure I’d end up leaving someone out.

One last question, what kind of voice are you listening to on your Mac? I can only assume you still use a screen reader and a Mac. Is it still Alex or have they made new voices that are just as good? Knowing Apple, they probably use human speech in twenty years haha. Ok, I just heard my DM ping. I think that’s my cue to wrap this up.

I hope this letter finds you well , my fifty-three year-old self! Oh, happy early birthday!

Love,

Thirty-three year-old Ro

PS – Do they have replicators and/or transporters yet? Did you ever publish anything?

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Filed under accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, Alex, apple Inc, assistive technologies, baseball, cool product, evan longoria, fellowship, Fi, humor as coping skill, I might be a writer, in the news, iPhone, Jayden, letters, mental health, misty eyes, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, on this date, politics, proud geek, screen reader, silly girl, sobriety, Spinelli, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this