Category Archives: apple Inc

What’s a Newspaper?

first thing this morning I noticed the sounds of workers out behind my apartment and thought, great, I get to blindly search for dog poop in front of strangers. If only I had known that would be the least of my problems. The noise, oh the noise! The sounds of rocks thumping together, men shouting, eventually a loud machine doing God only knows what and it would have been fine if it weren’t for that meddling tooth pain that is back with a vengeance today going up into my ear hurry up insurance suits hurry up I need my ear! Thank God I’m on Lexapro, seriously. I called the apartment office to find out what the workers were doing and of course no one answered. They never answer. I called Carol. She told me the cutest story!

Friday Carol went to Starbucks with the intention of enjoying some coffee while doing a crossword before hitting the book store. There weren’t any tables available but she noticed two little girls sitting beside each other at a small table, playing on an iPad. Carol asked the two women next to the girls if they belonged to them and then asked if it would be ok if she sat on the other side to do her crossword. The older of the two girls hardly paid any attention but the younger girl was very interested in Carol. The following is what happened, told from the best of my memory of the conversation.

Carol: I only need this much space. (She drew a square around her coffee cup, making the girls giggle)

Youngest girl: What’s that?

Carol: This is a newspaper. (The younger girl came over to get a better look)

Youngest girl: What’s a newspaper?

(I groan at this point. How old do I feel?)

Carol: (Points to the iPad) It’s like that, but made out of paper. (The moms laugh)

The youngest girl is then interested in the crossword. Luckily the perfect clue presents itself.

Carol: How does every single fairy tale start?

Youngest girl: Once upon a time!

Carol: So that’s the clue for this four letter word, do you think the word is once, upon or time?

I can’t remember if she told me the rest but I just loved that story. Yes, the child not knowing what a newspaper is was a bit depressing, but the story of the interaction was happy making. I love random encounters with kids! I knew I had to share in today’s post.

There was also a funny part about the men working outside. At one point I heard a song being sung in spanish as one of the men worked. A little while later a phone rang and the ring tone was the “mine! mine! mine!” from Finding Nemo, which made me think of Tropicana Field.

It’s the little things.

Happy birthday, Ricardo!!!

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Filed under apple Inc, birthday, Dental Health, gratitude, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2013, random stuff

Rays Road Trip Day One

So I shut down my Twitter client so I would just focus on writing this post. I tell you, Twitter has ruined my blogging haha! I want to capture as many memories as possible from this trip so I’m just going to write. I can pretty much guarantee that this post will be long. (Yep, WordPress tells me it’s 3,600 words. Whoa!) My hope is to write about the first day today before the Rays game at one and then write about the second day tomorrow. Let’s see how I do.

So for those who don’t know, B and Jayden and I set out on Tuesday August 6 for Phoenix, AZ to attend the two Rays games against the Diamondbacks. B got us a really nice room at a brand new hotel in downtown Phoenix right near the park and the hotel was pet friendly with complimentary dog bowls. When B read me the description of the hotel my eyes lit up. I was a little leery of dealing with other dogs but if the place was pet friendly, there would be a nice and easy relieving area, right? Ha!

B got a fantastic deal on the room. He’s really gotten good at road trips on the cheap, using hotels.com. The closer it got to the trip the more excited I started to feel but I made myself keep on an even keel so I wouldn’t get exhausted before we even left. Added to the mix was the possibility that we’d be going on the field for batting practice before the Wednesday game. What? I know. I got a message about it from David Price’s lady, Tiffany, a few days before the trip. David Price wanted to get me on field passes. Oh. Em. Gee. I felt the excitement bubbling up inside me at the possibility, images began dancing in my head of walking with Jayden on the grass, could we walk the bases? Could I get an idea of how big the field is? I started thinking about meeting the guys, getting a hug from David Price so I could tell how tall he is, telling Evan Longoria all about how he gave me baseball, was all this going to happen? Whoa there, slow down, stop it girly. Stay even. Deep breath. No highs ok? Don’t start with the expectations. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst right? Yes, even for fun things. So I tried putting that out of my mind. I told my friend Manda on Twitter and of course I told B and Carol but that was it.

So anyway, I had been checking the weather in Phoenix. Not for the impact on the games since Chase Field has a retractable roof, but for me. I was happy to read that it would be dry there. It had been somewhat humid here and I know I know those of you who live in humid climates think I’m nuts but I live in the desert because it’s dry most of the time so when you add a little moisture, I feel it.

We left here about noon on Tuesday and I was reading Twitter on my phone. David Price was tweeting a lot about food, making me laugh. Then Sarah Maddon, who I really hoped to meet who lives in Phoenix, tweeted about rain and Jaime Edmondson, Evan Longoria’s lady, tweeted about rain and I was like what? No! It’s supposed to be dry! Sure enough, we soon encountered wet freeway the closer we got to Phoenix. Bullocks. I heard rain on the windshield. Normally I love rain, however when I have to leave the house and go out in humidity, it’s a problem. Oh well, brush it off.

We hit a little bit of traffic going into Phoenix but not major traffic jams, miracle. B let me know when we drove passed Chase and I said hi to the Rays though it was like 2pm so they probably weren’t there yet. B found the hotel and it looked like it was valet only. He drove around looking for a lot but nope, valet only. Ok so valet is nice right? But when you’ve been in the car for two hours, you want to get out and stretch and leisurely move. At least I do haha. Nope! You have to get out and get your stuff right away. I’m not used to valet anything. I’m a small town girl haha! There was also kinda loud music playing. Not your normal stuffy hotel music either. So I couldn’t hear very well. We were downtown too so there was traffic noise right there, traffic and music and I just told Jayden to find B and I went on auto pilot. Somehow we got inside. B was checking in and I asked about the relieving area when suddenly there was another dog in the lobby so I was controlling Jayden and explaining that he couldn’t say hi and then B was done checking in and I asked him if he heard where the relieving area was because I hadn’t.

I had made sure we got a room near the elevator so I wouldn’t have to walk Jayden too far down halls in the morning when he had to pee. We were on the sixth floor. Holy plush carpet Batman! We went up to the room so I could use the human relieving area then we went back out to relieve Jayden. Remember how I thought a pet friendly hotel would have a convenient relieving area? Ha!

We’re walking and I’m like, “are you sure this is where they said to go?” There’s traffic and we cross a street and I’m like what? And it’s humid and I’m covered in sweat and then we’re going up some steps and I’m like, “seriouslY?” I hear a fountain and B said yes, the grass by the fountain and then there’s grass. Wow. Alrighty then.

We get back to the room and there’s time to relax before we need to head to the field. I need coffee desperately. B starts looking for the coffee maker. Hmmm. Actually you know what? He looked for it before we took Jayden out. There was no coffee maker in the room. Are you kidding me? I asked when we took Jayden out and the concierge lady said she’d send one up. They have coffee on the second floor in the morning too. I also requested dog bowls. So when we got back to the room we had the dog bowls and a coffee maker. I collapsed on the couch thing next to the bed and begged B to start a pot of coffee. I’m imagining those little pots in most hotel rooms right? Wrong. B isn’t a coffee drinker but because of me, he knows how to brew boring old coffee in boring old makers. I hear him making questioning sounds and I’m like, it should just be a little packet of coffee like a tea bag. He hands it to me. Oh! This is a K cup! Uh oh. I don’t know how to use a Keurig. I know what they are but I’ve never used one. So B reads the instructions and gets it figured out and brews me a cup. A cup. For me. The coffeeholic. Ha! There were two K cups. Two cups of coffee. I had to save the other one for morning. Oh my. But, the one cup was ok for right then and there.

I think I tweeted some then, Jayden drank water, we relaxed. I turned on my Verizon hot spot since the hotel didn’t have free internet. It was getting closer to game time and I was getting more and more excited. I changed into my Rays shirt and hat and we got ready to go. We were just going to walk from the hotel. The description on the website said it was a seven to ten minute walk. Not bad and B said it wasn’t far. Ha!

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Ok, where was I? Short walk, right. I fed Jayden and we set out, pausing at the relieving area. It was so humid right there because of the grass and the fountain so I was drenched in sweat before we even really began the walk. Thank goodness for the cloud cover! It really was a gorgeous late afternoon for a walk except for the humidity. Rain had really cooled things down nicely.

We walked and walked and walked. And walked. And then walked. Jayden wasn’t happy. There were surfaces he didn’t like. I wasn’t really ok physically which added to his discomfort so the walk wasn’t fun but we finally made it. We’re here? Finally? The Rays are here! yay!

We got the tickets I had ordered over the phone. I asked the will call girl about what would happen if I got field passes and she said if they were there tomorrow, they’d be at window one. Naturally I focused on her saying “if”.

We walked not very far inside before B found our section. It was blissfully cool inside Chase Field. I had bought accessible seats on the phone but B said, “this is supposed to be accessible?” I asked if there was an usher and one magically appeared. She looked at the tickets and explained that she would get us chairs. Our seats were indeed accessible! We got cushy folding chairs right where wheelchairs would go. We just positioned the chairs behind a row of seats so we had drink holders and everything. The usher closed a rope behind us and we settled in. Jayden had tons of room and the seats were great. We were on the first base line behind the Rays dugout and up a few levels. We hadn’t needed stairs or an elevator. We had been to Chase for a game back in 2009 when the DBacks played the Angels and back then they didn’t have nearly as much accessible seating as they do now.

So anyway, I put Jayden’s mat down but he immediately plopped his belly down on the cool concrete, resting just his head on the mat. He passed out. It was blissful to take my backpack off! I learned from the game in Colorado, which I haven’t even written about here oops, and brought my own radio. It’s the radio I got when I was first blind, before I had any iThings and digital audio books. It’s an AM/FM CD player, like you’d have in your office. We had to get batteries for it, batteries! How archaic! It took C batteries. I didn’t even know there was such a thing haha. The radio got good reception as long as I held it on my lap. Unfortunately I couldn’t listen to my guys, Dave Wills and Andy Freed. If only the At Bat app wasn’t two minutes behind. Oh well, luxury problem. I had a radio and that was all that mattered.

Are we to game time yet? I will turn this blog right around and go back home.

I had given our seat info to some friend son Twitter, something I also learned from Colorado. Before we left the hotel, I tweeted Dave Wills and asked him the best way to make sure we met since we missed each other in Colorado. He said to tweet him when we got there so I asked Manda to tweet him my seat location. I snapped a pic of the field and tweeted it to let my friends know we’d made it. B was hungry but the heat and humidity had zapped my appetite. I knew I needed to eat something so he got me some nachos and then went off to find food fore himself. I munched on nachos and listened to the sounds of the park, music playing, fans talking,, laughter, calls from the beer guy. The game wasn’t quite close to starting. I was just taking it all in. You can feel the enormity of Chase Field. It was just as impressive as it was the first time I was there in ’09 only more so now that my Rays were there. Joe Maddon was there! Evan Longoria was there! Wil Myers was there! David Price was there! Jim Hickey and Tom Foley and Fernando Rodney and Jose Lobaton and Jake McGee and Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist and and and!!!!

“Ro?”

Did I just hear Ro? I had just shoved a nacho in my mouth. The din around me and the sound of my chewing was playing tricks on me.

“Ro?”

I know that voice!!!! I turned around in my seat, waved, pointed at my mouth and the nachos.

“It is her!”

I set the nachos on B’s empty chair and stood laughing and shouting about my mouth being full. It was Dave Wills and Andy Freed!!!! Right there!!! the men I listen to every single day, the men who taught me baseball, the men I so wanted to meet! They were right there!

I hugged them both and jumped up and down and they met Jayden and we chatted and I said they needed a park like this in Florida and they said a bit smaller and we chatted and I can’t even remember about what exactly. It was so comfortable because they weren’t strangers to me at all. I know them, probably better than they realize. When you listen to someone talk on the radio for at least three hours for at least 162 games, you learn about them. Especially Dave and Andy because they are great friends so they chat on air and you really get to know them. And here they were! I was just so happy, probably the happiest I remember feeling in a very long time. B got back with his food and I introduced them and they razzed him about wearing a DBacks shirt and then they had to go to work and they said they’d come by the next day too and I whispered about the possible on field passes and said, “shhh I don’t know if it has to be on the down low” and they laughed and we hugged again and they were gone. Wow! Ok, I’m good, let’s go back to the hotel. We got up and left. Just kidding!

Oh, one thing that really impressed me about Andy Freed was he just came out and asked how I went blind. I love that! Just get it out there when you’re curious. I can’t remember which one asked me how long I’d had Jayden but I ended up explaining that he was raised for a year before his training and Andy Freed said he knows someone who raises puppies and I asked if it was for Southeastern Guide Dogs there in Florida and it was. It was just kinda cool to have that link with him. Puppy raisers rock!

So wow, the game part of this post is probably going to be the shortest part. It was so awesome to be able to cheer loudly for my guys and ring my cowbell. Coors Field in Colorado had banned cowbells. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written about that game. I didn’t really get to be a fan there. Anyway, I got to ring my bell and cheer and listen to the DBacks radio guys describe the action and B was there and Jayden was there and my Rays were right down there on the field and yay! I heard the crack of the bat in person and yay!

Ok so Jeremy Hellickson is a slooooow pitcher this season. It’s bad enough listening at home on the radio but it’s kinda torture at the park when he’s pitching and taking so long between pitches. I just knew Dave and Andy would be talking about how his defenders were on the field way too long and getting bored and the DBacks radio guys were definitely taking jabs at Helli and how slow he pitched. He did get a hit though! I Honestly don’t even remember a whole lot about the game itself. I was oh for one coming into the game since the Rays lost the one game I went to in Colorado so I was hoping for a win. I cheered and rang my cowbell when good stuff happened and I heard other cowbells and it was awesome to add mine to the chorus.

At one point, Evan Longoria was batting. I had my headphones on in both ears, keeping track of what happened. Then the crowd got loud for really the first time and completely drowned out the radio in my ears. I figured since the crowd had gotten loud, something good happened for the DBacks so I sat back and waited for it to quiet down. B shouted, “you were awfully quiet, why didn’t you cheer?”

“The crowd got loud, I couldn’t hear the radio, I figured they got him out.”

“Longoria hit a home run!”

Crap. Evan Longoria hit a home run at a game I was at and I didn’t even cheer because I didn’t know it had happened.

I said that to B and then said, “well, that’ll make a funny story for the blog.”

When I read Twitter that night after the game, there were so many tweets about Evan Longoria hitting a home run and how excited I must have been. All I could do was shake my head and chuckle. It was a valuable lesson. I kept my finger on the volume wheel after that so when the crowd got loud, I could turn up the volume.

When the DBacks fans did cheer for something good, I could tell the difference then. Unfortunately, the DBacks fans got to cheer the whole rest of the game since they won it. I was now oh for two. Bullocks.

We stayed until the last out. Even though my guys had lost, it had been such a fun night! I packed up and we waited for the crowd to dissipate some before heading out.

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Just had a quick thought, in twenty years I can say I was at a game during Wil Myers’ rookie season, a game in which I didn’t know Evan Longoria hit a home run. Who else can say that?

I stopped at the ladies room and the female DBacks fans were all nice to me. Classy fans, they really are. I was so impressed with the way the park cheered for Ryan Roberts, who is now a Ray but who used to be a DBack. It was just a great experience all around.

As we were heading out I heard my name. It was Sarah Maddon! Yay!!! I was so hoping to meet her after talking to her on Twitter quite a bit this season. She’s tiny! I only know that because we hugged, not because I did that blind movie thing where the blind person feels up everyone they meet. I got to meet her husband too. We only chatted briefly and then the rest of her party were leaving so we parted ways. I had the biggest grin as we walked out! I got to meet three of the people I hoped to meet! yay!

It was a completely different world outside the park than it had been when we walked in. There was a saxophone player somewhere nearby playing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I sang along, a bounce in my step. There was music everywhere! Musicians on street corners, musicians in bars, music everywhere! There were people walking on the sidewalks, milling around outside bars, smoking cigarettes, talking and laughing. It was like we had been transported to a big city. Oh wait, that’s because we had haha!

We stopped and relieved Jayden before going back up to the room. Ah, quiet. I tweeted some and read all my mentions. My Rays Twitter Family had been very active and it made me smile to read all the messages. I love them so much!

I decided to shower that night because we had to check out the next day at noon. The shower was bizarre! Imagine a normal stand up shower with two sliding glass doors. It was like that, only with one door and it didn’t slide. It was where the shower head was and the other side was completely open. My uncle has an open shower like that but his is a big thing, this was just crazy haha. And it’s drafty hahaha!

It took me a long time to fall asleep and I didn’t sleep well. It had been such an incredible day and perhaps the latte I’d had in the seventh inning contributed to the sleep issue but man it was good. I had also been a little chilly in the air conditioned park.

The bed was extremely comfortable though I was confused at first. I always turn down the comforter and fall asleep with just the sheet. When I went to turn down the comforter I grabbed sheet. Huh? Turned out they made the bed with a sheet, the comforter, and another sheet, like a duvet cover that doesn’t close. Interesting. Haha! The room was swanky indeed. I was almost bummed we were only staying one night.

I think I’ve pretty much captured all of the first day. My arms are pretty sore now haha! Time to go through and edit and see if anything else comes to mind. Coffee first. 😉

Finished editing and Jayden asked to go outside and I checked the time. Whoa! Gotta love the writing induced time warp!

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Filed under accessibility, apple Inc, baseball, blind tips, coffeeholic, desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, jayden quirks, music, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, twitter me this, weather, working dog, wow

Handwriting in iOS 7 – Most Excellent!

The other day when someone retweeted @Ducktail’s demo of handwriting in iOS 7 I played the demo not sure what I’d find. Not long into it my hands were covering my face as I listened, completely amazed and filled with gratitude toward Apple.

In iOS 7, we’ll be able to draw letters on the screen! Not only will this allow us to hand write text, but it can also be used to search the device for apps. Looking for Sound Hound? Draw an “s” on the screen and a list of all your apps beginning with the letter “s” come up. I cannot wait for this feature! I hadn’t thought about how much I miss writing letters!

It seems like this could definitely be difficult for those who never used handwriting, for sure, but for someone like me who wrote the letters of the alphabet until I was twenty-nine, this will bring back something I thought I’d lost forever! The ability to hand write! Oh man. I’m so excited hahahahaha!

Ok, as LeVar Burton likes to say, bydhttmwfi. go have a listen to the demo. It’s an auto play Dropbox. Just go listen. Oh man! So cool! So amazing! Thank you, Apple!

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Filed under accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, demo, gratitude, iPhone, misty eyes, plugs, screen reader, twitter me this, Voiceover, wow

“Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour” (Midnighters Trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld – narrated by Voiceover (iOS Kindle app)

I have listened to every Scott Westerfeld novel available in audio format and was deeply dismayed not to be able to find the Midnighters trilogy. Every time I read something on his website that referenced the trilogy I would feel sad and left out.

When my friend Ricardo told me the Kindle app for iOS was accessible, the Midnighters trilogy was the first thing to come to mind and I was so excited to find that Amazon had it. I wasn’t too sure how I would feel about having a synthesized voice read me an entire novel but I had gone without for so long it was worth a shot. It really wasn’t that bad. I slowed the voice down quite a bit and it basically turned the book into an audio book. I definitely wouldn’t choose it over a human narrator but it’s certainly better than not having access to a book!

Soon after Jessica Day arrives in Bixby Oklahoma where her mom has gotten a new job, Jessica discovers that the hour of midnight is strange indeed. It seems like the world around her freezes for exactly one hour, everything but her. Imagine what it would be like to run through frozen rain drops as they hover in the air! It’s not all beautiful though as Jessica soon finds out. It gets downright scary. There were several times as I read this that I shouted at Westerfeld, “what was going on in that head of yours when you wrote that!”

I very much enjoyed this book. For me it wasn’t up there with “Uglies” and “Leviathan” but that could be due to the fact that my phone read it to me. I haven’t really known how to include books I’ll read with the Kindle app here, so I decided I just won’t give them the ratings I do with audio books. I’d recommend this if you’re a Scott Westerfeld fan or just want to read some good young adult fiction. I started the second book in the series but have been distracted by some really good audio books. I’m sure I’ll get back to it before long. I wasn’t able to listen to it for hours like I can with an audio book and I can’t imagine laying in bed at night getting sleepy listening to voiceover read me a book haha. I’m so grateful the Kindle app is accessible now, yay!

Bixby, Oklahoma, is that the same Bixby from the movie Tremors I wonder? Staaaaaaaaampede!

“Midnighters #1” at the Amazon Kindle Store

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Filed under 2013 Book List, accessibility, Amazon, apple Inc, gratitude, iPhone, screen reader, Voiceover

My Week in Five er, Six Songs

A fun sounding writing prompt came up yesterday but I wasn’t sure I’d do it. this morning a song popped in my head and I started thinking of other songs to fit into a five song playlist to describe my week. I picked last Monday to today. Can you guess the song before clicking the link? All the links are you tubes and they open in a new window.

Last Monday I had to go to the doctor and she wants me to have a procedure. It’s just a procedure and not surgery, but I hope the gastroenterologist isn’t like this surgeon.

Tuesday I tried to gather enough energy to get ready for an out of town guest. I tried to find a good song about out of town guests but all I found were songs about weddings. Huh? B’s dad was here for a visit Wednesday and we hung out until Friday afternoon when he and B drove up to Phoenix for Spring Training. He flew out this morning (B just got home and said his dad missed his flight. It was crazy in Phoenix this weekend with the World Baseball Classic and Spring Training and apparently it’s spring break this week too.) and B will be back today. (Yeah, he’s already back. Can YOu tell I started this post awhile ago?) I got to prepare some food for myself that I don’t normally eat much of when I eat with B, so I thought I’d find a song about cooking. It’s fun to sing while you cook. My shrimp was dead.

I was sad the night B and his dad left so after I cooked dinner I treated myself to another season of my favorite comedy. Happy making! The show kept me company for the weekend.

The rest of the time, I listened to my favorite sport. If you don’t know what that is without clicking the link, you don’t know me at all!

Last night I went to bed early so I could get up early this morning to get ready for Jayden’s wellness check vet appointment. (He earned a clean bill of health again!) I told B on the phone last night I felt really old going to bed so early and this morning my hips hurt and my knees were popping as I was getting ready and the song that came to mind let me know I had to follow the writing prompt and write this post. I could not find the original recording of that song on youtube, so I picked that cover out of the several I listened to. It reminded me of my dad sitting around singing country songs and playing his guitar while I was growing up.

Ok, bonus round. Back in my karaoke days my friend L did this song and I’ve tried to find it for years but never knew the artist or enough lyrics. The other day I found myself singing it to Jayden, replacing the word “ladies” with his name. I finally remembered I have the Sound Hound app and after humming the song to it, I finally found it! Don’t worry, the subject matter does not pertain at all to my life. 😉

How many songs did you guess? Leave me a comment and tell me. I won’t know if you lie, but your dog will. Huh?

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Filed under apple Inc, baseball, cool product, doc, family, Jayden, music, num num food, plugs, vet visit, youtube

Book fifty-three in 2012 – “The Brass Verdict” (Harry Bosch #14, Mickey Haller #2) – Michael Connelly

I’m behind on the blog, as evident by the fact that I finished this book last month. Granted it’s still early December but yeah haha. I mostly read this book while on the road trip to San Diego and back, which I’m also behind writing about.

The beginning of this book was somewhat slow to me which is rare for Michael Connelly books. It seemed like there were a lot of details discussed about cases not relating to the main plot point. I could almost, almost just a little bit, understand abridged books haha! However the second half of the book made up for it. It took off and the twists came flying. On the way back home from Sand diego there were several times I sat bolt upright and gasped.

This book brings Bosch and Haller together for the first time. Mickey Haller was introduced to us in “The Lincoln Lawyer” and I had noticed something in that book that I was curious to see when this would be revealed. Would it be revealed in this book? I was certainly not disappointed by the time the book was done. Things didn’t go the way I thought they would of course, but I was satisfied when the book ended.

I’m rationing the remaining Michael Connelly books since I’m close to being caught up with them and don’t want the seemingly endless supply of books to end! Oh yeah, I’m typing this on my new computer. New computer? Hahaha! Yep!

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” (Book One of the Hunger Games Trilogy) – 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

52. “Mocking Jay” (Book Three of the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/23/12

53. “The Brass Verdict” (Harry Bosch #14, Mickey Haller #2) – Michael Connelly – finished 11/28/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, apple Inc, Audio books, silly girl

A Phone Call from a Light Dependent Person

It’s Sunday morning and I had just started a podcast when I heard my phone ring but it was just the harp and that’s the no need to run ringtone. I couldn’t hear Voiceover to know who had called so I checked the phone after the podcast and it was my massage guy. Hmmm, why is he calling on a Sunday? I checked the voicemail and had a panicked message from his wife that went something like this:

Hi Ro, S is making the switch to the iPhone so I started playing with the screen reader on mine to get familiar with it before he takes it over and all of the sudden my screen went black and I don’t know what to do and I know you’ve gotten really good with your Iphone so I decided to call so if you could call me back that would be great.

Those weren’t her exact words but I think it’s pretty close. I was laughing as I listened to it and called her back immediately on my massage guy’s phone. She answered laughing which was a good thing and I laughed with her. She put me on speaker and I could hear as she unlocked the iPhone.

Me: When the screen went black did you hear the phone say, “screen curtain on”?

Her: No.

Me: Hmmm, well, try doing a three finger triple tap.

Her: The screen is back!

Both of us burst out laughing. I still don’t know why she didn’t hear the phone announce the screen curtain but at least that was all it was. After we finished laughing about that she asked me why a double tap made her music play.

Me: A double tap? That’s odd, I mean unless you’re on the play button or something…

Her: No actually it’s when I double tap with two fingers.

Me: Oh! Yeah, a two finger double tap will start your music or any audio you had been streaming.

Her: Ok so that is supposed to happen then.

Me, laughing: Yes, that is normal.

We discussed getting together so I can help S get to know his phone. He’s been pretty resistant to the iPhone, being stuck on the whole no buttons thing like so many blind are. I know once he finally makes the switch he’ll be happier than a pig in…you know.

I just thoroughly enjoyed helping a sighted person with her black screened iPhone! She is a “poor light dependent person”, her words. Fun stuff.

Oh, note to self, give her and S a must run ringtone for future iPhone emergencies.

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Filed under apple Inc, funnies, iPhone, random stuff, screen reader, Voiceover

San Diego Recap Part One

I will be writing about our little trip while in a hungry, tired and poisonous antibiotics induced stupor. This should be fun! Last week I started feeling a pang in the same area of my abdomen as the first diverticulitis attack. I prayed it would go away and I wouldn’t feel it for a bit and then there it was again. Finally on Saturday there was no denying it. Luckily the on-call doctor for my doctor was able to call in the antibiotics I had discussed with my physician at the follow-up appointment. I decided I would start the liquid diet upon returning from San Diego and luckily the medicine wasn’t too awful on food like it is on an empty stomach. Armed with Dramamine, Immodium, Flagyl and Cipro, I set out on Monday with B and Jayden on what would surely be an adventure.

At first, the car ride was great. I relaxed back with my iPod, listening to a Michael Connelly book, Jayden curled up at my feet on his cushy mat I bought. Any thing isn’t so bad when it first starts, right? When Jayden started getting restless, the relaxing was gone. He does fine in cars, but we’ve never been in the car for too long. At the first rest stop, we were all happy to get out of the car. Our reprieve was brief however and before long we were back on the road. Jayden would not settle for a long time and when he finally did, B announced another rest stop coming up. We both agreed to skip it. I did not want to get out of the car again. We stopped one more time before hitting the hills that go into San Diego and it was so very odd to step onto soft plush grass. The air was fresh and crisp with a hint of moisture. Definitely not Arizona air. There was another dog near the ladies’ room and by the time I got Jayden’s harness on to enter, we found the only handicapped stall occupied by the woman and her dog. Luckily she had figured out outside that I was blind and when she heard me talking to Jayden, she took her dog into a normal stall. When I told B about this, he said the dog was a tiny little poodle. She had said she was in the handicapped stall because of her dog. Really? Alrighty then. At least she realized her error and vacated it for us.

By the time we made it into San Diego and found the hotel, we were all pretty tired. B had found a deal on hotels.com for this place on Shelter Island near the airport. When we checked in I asked for a ground floor room and we got upgraded to accommodate this request. The bed was huge and old. Remember those old thin mattresses? It was so low to the ground I kept sitting down hard on it haha. It also made this squishy plastic-on-plastic sound when we sat on it. Apparently all the beds did this since I could hear the one above us through the paper thin ceiling. Aside from that, the room was nice. It had a microwave and little fridge. The microwave was a huge plus for me since I brought Starbucks instant coffee haha. B decided to find a take-out place for dinner so we ate seafood on the huge bed. I had fish tacos and sushi. It was delicious! Especially the fish tacos. Yummm! I went to sleep pretty early and slept hard after the day of travel. Tuesday was going to be busy.

Getting up and moving in a strange place is exhausting. Living out of bags on the floor is physically taxing with the constant up/down motions. Jayden must have wondered what the heck was going on, why it was taking me so long to get his food ready. Finally I got him fed, watered and relieved and was able to relax with my instant coffee and work on waking up. B and I watched the local news. It’s always interesting to me to watch local news in a strange place. Everything is so unfamiliar. Eventually we got ready to head out to the San Diego Zoo. Luckily I knew Jayden could go since Carin had told me service dogs were welcome. She had been to San Diego with work and had discovered this fact. I was glad to know this because originally I had thought I would just hang out in the hotel all day while B went to the zoo. Even though I had my laptop, the thought of that was not appealing once we had arrived in our room.

I’m going to split the trip recap into two posts and finish this tomorrow. After writing about the fish tacos, I am miserably hungry and grumpy haha! I think I’ll go drink some chicken broth and lay in bed with a book.

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Filed under apple Inc, Audio books, coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2012, sicky sick, working dog

Let’s talk about God, shall we? Don’t be scared.

I haven’t used a lot of the writing prompts suggested by a Twitter account I’m following but I liked this one and decided to see if I could do it with my one and only iBook. The prompt was to grab the nearest book, turn to page eight-two and work the third full sentence into a post. Since going blind, I can never participate in these sorts of things, grabbing a sentence from a certain page, since that isn’t possible with an audio book. Now however, I have an iBook and the ability to choose my page! I am pretty sure page eighty-two of my iBook isn’t the same as the print book, but it works.

When I found the desired sentence, I was torn about whether to do this. This sentence addresses the major controversy about the program that rescued me from the clutches of alcoholism – God.

When I first stumbled into my first meeting and saw God on the walls in the steps I thought, well I’ll do those steps because I don’t want to drink anymore, but don’t talk to me about God. Of course I knew they would talk to me about a higher power. I had known a guy who had made a band his higher power. Before I had ever started drinking, I hung out at a coffee shop with a bunch of young people who were newly sober and they talked about how they could make their higher power anything they wanted. Yet, it was God on the walls everywhere, not a higher power that was a door knob or a band.

I wanted what those people had though, so I trudged forward and decided to deal with the God thing when I came to it. I wanted to be happy like those other people, those people who didn’t drink and still smiled and laughed, genuinely laughed!

“When we became alcoholics,crushed by a self imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else he is nothing.”

I have read that sentence countless times this morning as I copied it down from my iBook word by word. Looking back on those early days over seven and a half years later, I see that I had already noticed that God is everything when I looked at those happy people and decided I would do whatever they had done to be like them. I didn’t know it yet, but it was their faith in something, call it whatever you want, that was pouring out and making me drunk with the desire to be happy with them.

The misconception about this program and God on the wall is that when you walk in the door they start throwing bibles at you and making you believe what they believe. That is so far from the truth I laugh when I hear it. You hear comedians talking about it, you see it online in every social networking group there is, it’s everywhere and it’s sad.

The chapter in the book, (yes there’s a book but it’s not a bible, it’s more a manual) this quote comes from is the chapter called “We Agnostics”. The writers of the book understood that in order for their program to save as many lives as possible, they would need to reach out to people of all faiths. All faiths include no faith. That is where the God of your understanding comes in and that’s what saved my life.

I craved having something to believe in. I needed it. I was frightened off of religion as a child though and never found anything I could believe in. I tried as a young adult. I went to supposed “cool churches” but they still preached hate. When I was told I could borrow my sponsor’s God, I was intrigued.

She asked if I believed she believed in her higher power. Well, yes I did. She asked if I wanted what she had, meaning her sobriety and her happiness. yes I did. So she said I could borrow her God. She called it God because that is a universal name and it’s easy to spell. So when I left her house, I pretended her God came with me. I started talking to her God, just asking for help staying sober, simple stuff in the beginning. I cannot describe the relief!

Whether that God was real or not didn’t matter. The point was I was so sick and broken that believing that her God was watching out for me and helping me stay sober brought me relief and took away some of the fear that I would go weak and buy a drink. It didn’t take long for me to morph that comfort into my own conception of my own God.

That faith that helped me stay sober in the beginning has helped me through so much more than I ever thought possible. Whatever it was that I talked to and begged for help when I was diagnosed with MS, kept me from drinking and got me through that adjustment. Whatever it was that I leaned on and relaxed into when I went blind on my three year sobriety anniversary helped me stay sober through a life altering ordeal and helped me through that adjustment. Whatever I sobbed to on my knees in the kitchen with a destroyed coffee maker and water and coffee grounds all over me, kept me from drinking and guided me towards getting help for my mental health.

So in my life, is God everything? You bet. Is my God a religious God? Not for me, but if that’s what you need, fantastic! Is my God always God? No. I don’t pretend to know what God is and sometimes my higher power is just the part of me that is sane, the part of me that knows what the next right thing is and does it, the part of me that knows right from wrong and cares about others. So you see, sometimes my God is me. If that isn’t everything or nothing, I don’t know what is.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, faith, fellowship, gratitude, mental health, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, sobriety, spoons, twitter me this

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

[[rate 360]]

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