Category Archives: iPhone

Even in my morning desire to rage, I didn’t have the urge to smash it like a bullpen phone.

Welcome to another episode oF *CROWD CHANTS THE WORDS* SLEEP! DEPRIVED! FUN! WITH YOUR HOST, RO, THE RAYS DUCHESS OF THE ARIZONA TERRITORIES!

I HAVE THE TIARA TO PROVE IT.

NO REALLY, I DO. I WAS SERIOUSLY TEMPTED TO WEAR IT TO MY LAST STEROID TREATMENT YESTERDAY. I HADN’T HAD THE ENERGY TO BATHE THE DAY BEFORE AND BLOW OUT MY HAIR SO I STUCK MY RAYS CAP ON YESTERDAY AND ALMOST PUT THE TIARA ON OVER IT. I THINK I HAVE EXPERIENCED A LITTLE OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE IN A MANIC PHASE. I MENTIONED IN YESTERDAY’S POST THAT I LISTENED TO THAT GNARLES BARKLEY SONG CRAZY ALL THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL. JUST ON REPEAT. THE DRIVER WAS A SPEED RACER TOO, SO IT WAS A SERIOUSLY FUN RIDE TO THE HOSPITAL. I KINDA WISH I HAD WORN THE TIARA.

Davis just informed me on Twitter that I was yelling. I hate it when I knock caps lock on and don’t notice it. Was I yelling in this post? Well, it would fit. I’m feeling crazy again this morning as the hours tick by. I don’t know for sure when I woke up. I try not to check the time so I don’t obsess but then I needed an ibuprofin and I always note the time when I take one since I take the 600mg pill and I don’t want to overload my kidneys. When I checked the time it was 3:00am and I had been laying awake for quite awhile. *groan*

So I lay there some more and then just gave up and got out of bed. I ended up reading through all my short stories here when I grabbed the link to the archives page to send to my new neuropathic friend. (His title. I like it.)

My writing schedule has been killed these last two weeks with all the medical stuff that came up so suddenly. I don’t know how I’ve managed to get a post up every day for NaBloPoMo. I’m sure the last few don’t make much sense. At least this morning I’m co-hearing ok that’s me trying to use Dictate on the Mac to spell a word and it’s just not working. Coherent There we go! Oh, it’s ent not ant.

Did I already write that I see the neurologist today? Maybe I’m not coherent if I already forgot what I’ve written. I’ve mentioned it on Twitter so that might be where I wrote it. this is why I shut Twitter down when I’m working on the novel haha.

It’s only 5:12. My alarm is going off in just under two hours. At least it’s not a three hour infusion today with travel to and from the hospital mixed in. I’m hoping to talk to my friend Shupa this afternoon after I get home. I’ve been drawing on her strength the last few days without her knowing it. Sometimes you just reach out through the ether to people who understand what you’ve going through.

I can’t quite seem to get silly like I have in past sleep deprived posts. Hmmm.

You know what sucks? Steroids. usually they’re awesome. this go round? Not so much. usually they increase your apetitie. Oh God I can’t type that word hahaha. Apetitie. What? Ok is a brain lesion effecting my finger nerves? Appetite. Ok had to type it super slow. Anyway, usually food is awesome right? I love food. And in the past on steroids when the hunger would hit and it hits fast, it was fun to wolf down food and appease the hunger monster. I mean it comes on FAST. It’s like, you better feed me now bitch, or there’ll be hell to pay. but yesterday? Hunger hit, had to eat but the thought of food was disgusting. I had my usual lunch at about 3pm after I got home and had to clean up cat mess and it was like forcing down my turkey and radish sandwich that I usually love. Then I went and got a light massage, therapist going easy on me just to help relax the muscles but not exacerbate anything. I had told B before my massage that I had no idea what I might want to eat after so I’d just make PB & J. I mean one can always eat PB & J right?

When I got home I decided I wouldn’t eat. But then the hunger hit and there was no choice. I had to force down that PB & J. I am not enjoying this.

My vertigo is pretty bad. I think if my eyes worked, I’d be noticing some vision issues. It’s hard to explain what I feel since I can’t see, but I feel my eyes trying to do something. It reminds me of the nystagmus I had as a kid. That’s where your eyes vibrate. It used to happen to me at night when I turned the lights out to sleep. I’d have to turn the bedside light on and stare at it to make my eyes stop vibrating. That’s almost how they feel now.

So I don’t know how much success the steroids were. I don’t know if the doc will order another MRI. Several have asked me that. I didn’t have a second MRI in the past after steroids, but that was after being treated at the hospital, so who knows what Dr. v will want. I’m looking forward to this week being over but I am grateful I see him today.

I’m just plopping my hat on today. Don’t worry, I won’t put the tiara on. I am becoming one of those people who goes out with hair overdo for a wash. Nooooooo!!!! I just have not had the energy to shower after treatment this week and I can’t do it in the mornings because bathing takes all my energy. So…body spray it is! I hope I don’t stink. I don’t think I do. I haven’t sweat. It’s been really beautiful here weather wise.

So I’m just sitting here drinking coffee, flipping over to Twitter and carrying on conversations. The heater is on. the air from the vent in my den is so loud I have to adjust the volume of my screen reader when it turns off and on .

Oh no, the hunger wolf is prowling. I’d really rather have breakfast close to the time I’ll be leaving to my appointment but when this wolf gets hungry, it gets really hard to ignore, like a dog who is demanding attention. I think I only have one more bowl of Special K left in the box. *sob*

I’m going to get some green tea later with my prescription. My massage therapist said green tea is good to help the body adjust after high doses of steroids. I didn’t ask how he knows that. Maybe I should see if I can get ARod on the line for his tips. Bah ha ha! I assure you my phone is safe from harm. Even in my morning desire to rage, I didn’t have the urge to smash it like a bullpen phone.

Dammit hungry. Maybe I can manage a slice of bread with some peanut butter. Hmmm. Yeah that sounds good. I’ll go try and eat that and report back.

Ok, that was pretty tasty. I stuck a half a banana on there. Jayden was happy with this development. A taste of peanut butter and a half a banana? Nom.

Only problem is I forgot to take a Zantac this morning. Steroid heartburn sucks. Just popped one so hopefully it’s not too late.

I think I’m done rambling about nothing. I’m getting sleepy. Go figured. Three hours till I leave for the doctor. Tick Tock.

Today’s song of the day:

I really like how WordPress handles youtube videos now. Just plop the link in and WP does the rest.

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Filed under coffeeholic, doc, gratitude, humor as coping skill, iPhone, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2014, num num food, rambles, random stuff, screen reader, silly girl, Sleep Deprived Fun, spoons, twitter me this, weather, youtube

Tampa Bay Trip – Day One

I have a big top secret writing project planned but I have so many blog posts hanging over my head that I can’t focus on the big one. It’s silly right? Nothing says I need to post here at all but The Roof was my first writing project so I feel beholden to it somehow. So how does one catch up when so behind? One post at a time. Or one win at a time, in the Rays’ case. So I’m starting with day one of the Florida trip that took place forever ago.

So much preparation went in to this trip and not just on my part. So many people played a part in this once in a lifetime dream come true. There were the donors who made the trip completely financially stress free, there were friends planning transportation, there were groceries bought for my hotel room, every need I could have possibly had was met. So the day I left Tucson, March 29, was full of excitement, not stress. I had complete trust and faith in the people I was turning my life over to for a week. Did I mention I had never met any of these people in person? People were astounded when I told them I was flying by myself to a state I’d never been to and people I’d never met. As more of the story of how these people made the trip possible came out, my joy spread like wildfire. I had one paratransit driver say he couldn’t wait to tell his wife the story. Another driver shared a story about strangers helping her family after a tragic death. Everywhere I went, there were stories of the good in people. I couldn’t wait to get on the plane!

My flight was scheduled to leave Tucson about 11am. We got to the airport around 9:30 and I quickly realized Saturdays are not the day to travel. The Tucson airport is generally pretty quiet, a rather lazy airport. Not the day I left. I was so nervous that when we got to the ticket counter my hands were shaking as I handed the ticket agent my ID. “Why am I so nervous?” I asked B.

“You’re excited,” he said knowingly.

The ticket agent complimented my manicure. I had gotten my first ever shellack manicure in blue for my Rays. My ring fingernails were covered in glitter as an accent. It was so fun getting pampered in the week before the trip!

There was a long line at security. I just wanted to get on the plane so I could finally relax. As we reached the TSA agents a deep voice told us to go to him. I can’t remember what he asked me to do, oh I remember. Not everyone has to remove there shoes these days. He asked me to remove my shoes and I jokingly said, “is it because I’m blind?” He said yes so matter of factly that my mouth dropped open and finally he laughed and assured me I wasn’t being singled out. I like joking TSA agents. People are so boring when they’re serious all the time.

We finally got through security. B was allowed to come with me to the gate. It was so crowded that there wasn’t anywhere to sit so I plopped on the floor by Jayden and checked in on Foursquare.

– Aside –

I used to hate Foursquare so much that I had any mention of it muted in my Twitter client. People constantly shared every single place they ever visited. Why? Why do I need to know you’re getting gas at the Chevron? One day I was reading twitter on my iPhone where I had no mute filters set up and someone checked in at their child’s school! SeriouslY?

– End aside –

I wanted a good record of all the places I visited on the trip and Foursquare came in really handy for that. Not only was it great for my memories, my friends in Florida could track me as I came to them. I shared everything on Twitter and Facebook. It’s so much faster then sending texts to let everyone know you’ve arrived safely.

I felt so bad for Jayden since he couldn’t eat or drink the day we travelled. I gave him a small piece of cookie (dog biscuit) as we waited to board. We didn’t wait long. Soon it was announced that people with small children and disabilities were being pre-boarded so B kissed me goodbye, handed my carry-on suitcase to the helper and I was on my way! Weeeee!

As Jayden followed the helper through the jetway I was told it was a full flight. I hate those words haha. Full flight means they won’t be able to clear the seat next to us so Jayden will have to stay all scrunched up. I always get the bulkhead seat so there’s a little more leg room. We sit on the window so I can keep my leg position such that Jayden can curl up nicely between my leg and the window.

the helper handed me over to a flight attendant and she helped us to our seat. My carry-on was stowed and I got us settled as the plane began to fill up. I had bought a mini messenger bag that I could sling across my body in the hopes that they would let me keep that on me. The last time I flew, I used the hip pack I got from Guide Dogs so I could keep my phone and gum and stuff on me since there’s no under the seat space in bulkhead. Last time I flew however,I had gone to visit Chupa in Colorado and when we stopped for coffee after we left the airport, I was mortified to walk into Starbucks with my hip pack. It was a good laugh haha! I’m not a very vain person but something about a hip pack, you know?

they let me keep my messenger bag so I was all set for the flight with gum, Advil, granola bars and Jayden’s cookies. Let’s goooooo!

The seats next to me were empty for so long I started to feel hopeful but at the last minute a couple sat down next to me. The husband took the aisle seat and the wife wasn’t very vocal. She also had an incredibly smelly sandwich. As the plane taxied and started picking up speed she said, “I love this part!” I agreed and thrilled as the engines got louder and the moment of liftoff was felt as my back was pushed into the seat. Airborne! On my way!

(I’m so glad all the memories are coming back to me so vividly. I did not plan on waiting so long to write about the trip.)

I just got distracted by Mariah Carey singing Vision of Love.

As soon as we were allowed to use our electronics I got my iPad out and settled in to listen to “Code Zero” by Jonathan Maberry. Audio books are so great at passing time. Before I knew it we were making our final approach into Dallas. I thought about my friends Amanda and Taylor. I was so close to them!

When we landed and could come out of airplane mode I checked in on Foursquare and was told the place was swarming. Little did I know just how many flights came in and out of that airport!

We waited until everyone got off the plane and then a guy came to help us off. he got my carry-on and as we emerged from the jetway he asked if I wanted to ride on the cart that was at the gate. Remembering how much walking was involved at the Denver airport, I gratefully said yes. Jayden and I got on the cart and I grinned as the air hit my face. Inside. Air on my face inside. I reached down and touched Jayden’s head and could feel him trying to look at everything. There were so many passing sounds and smells. Snippets of conversation , the rolling of suitcases, food areas, the driver calmly making the cart’s presence known. We drove. And drove. And drove and soon the enormity of the airport dawned on me and my gratitude for the cart was overwhelming. Finally we were nearing the gate and I asked the driver if a restroom was near the gate. He stopped right outside the ladies room and waited for me to take me to the gate. Such service!

I found a seat and then remembered I liked to check in at the gate desk just to make sure Jayden and I were visible. I started heading in the direction of where I heard airport staff and a man asked if he could help us as I tried to drag my carry-on behind me. He was so nice! He helped us to the counter and back to a seat and then we sat and talked while I waited to board. Conversation began with questions about Jayden and where we were heading. I asked if he lived in Tampa since that was where the flight was going and he explained that he was hoping to get a standby flight and had stopped at that terminal to rest. that’s how huge this airport its! I can’t remember where he was traveling from but he was waiting on the last leg of a long journey. I want to say maybe he had been in South Africa doing church work. Wow. Just wow. He was waiting to get home. We talked a bit about the travel and he asked for more details about my trip of a lifetime. I asked if he had Twitter and he said he did, his son made him get an account but he didn’t use it often. I told him about the #RoToTrop hashtag and he said he would look it up. I wonder if he did!

Finally it was time to board again and I felt a bump of excitement. One more flight and I’d be there!

It was yet another full flight but the couple next to me were nice. I finished “Code Zero” and tried to hide my tears at one point. Joe Ledger books aren’t supposed to make me cry, Jonathan Maberry! *Shakes fist*

I decided to listen to some Josh Groban for the last bit of the flight and at one point Jayden moved so I bent to touch him and the music stopped. What? I took the headphones out and had volume. I tried the headphones on my iPhone and they worked. What the heck? Fine, I’ll listen to Josh on my iPhone. Crap. No I won’t. I had taken off all my music so I’d have plenty of room for media on the trip. Hmmm. I checked the audio books I keep on my phone for safe keeping. Old iTunes downloads that I got before I had Audible. Ah, “Silence of the Lambs”. That’s good. Are you about a size fourteen? Oh good good. Precious?

As we made our final approach into Tampa I couldn’t help it, I squealed with delight. “I’m so excited, you guys!” I said to my seat mates. I explained why and the man said, “Ah, I thought that was a Rays shirt you’re wearing.) this puzzled me because while he was correct, I was waring my Stripes for Archer shirt and I didn’t think it said Rays anywhere on it. I later confirmed this so the man had to know about the fan club! I was already among friends!

Ohmigod I’m in Tampa, I thought as the plane landed. I checked in on Foursquare and checked text messages. Manda had left a text saying they would be where the train stops, whatever that meant. Oh boy, another huge airport?

I not so patiently waited for everyone to get off the plane and finally my helper came for me and I was off. Ohmigod! We did indeed have to ride a train. It wasn’t far from the gate and suddenly we were getting off the train and I heard screaming and shouting and a very clear, “there she is!” Jayden had never met these people but he seemed to know they were friends and he was pulling pulling pulling towards them as my helper and I followed with my carry-on and then there were arms around me and laughing and Jayden was beside himself excited and I was meeting Manda, Davis and Tina. With all the commotion and noise we were making you’d have thought a lot more than three people had come to get me haha! Finally we calmed down and made our way towards baggage claim. I was in desperate need of coffee since I limit my fluids when traveling. I’d had a cup of water on each flight and that was it. Manda said she was pretty sure there was a Starbucks in the airport but in the end we decided to hit a drive thru on the way to St. Petersburg. I just wanted to get my suitcase and take care of my boy. Davis ran ahead to look for my suitcase but came back and told us it wasn’t there. Everyone else had come and gone so I felt a nudge of panic. We went to the baggage claim office and my claim ticket was checked and it showed that my suitcase had arrived. Just then some more luggage got to the area and yes! I had all of Jayden’s thinks with me in my carry-on as well as all the Snickerdoodle cookies I had baked the day before so I had the important stuff, but I was happy to have all my clothes haha.

We made our way outside and oh the humidity! I was warm from all the activity and when we hit the humidity I was instantly covered in sweat. We found a place for Jayden to pee, on this raised shrubbery thing that was not ideal. I was laughing at how hot I was, fanning myself with my shirt and they all laughed and said they were wearing sweaters. Are you crazy! It had rained all day and was like sixty degrees. Oh brrr haha! It was so humid because of the rain.

After relieving Jayden we made our way to the #RoToTrop Mobile, otherwise known as Davis’ SUV. He had shoe polished the hash tag on the back window. I got into my cary-on to get into Jayden’s food but I could not find the travel bowl I had brought with me. I’m usually good at remembering where I packed stuff but I could not find it. They all tried to think of what to put the food in and Davis lamented the fact that he’d had the car detailed. No loose trash to the rescue. Then a lightbulb went on over Manda’s head and she ran to her spot in the car. “Frisbee!” she shouted.

“Where did you find a frisbee in there?” Davis wondered.

turns out Manda had gone to a charity bowling event that day held by David Price and frisbees were part of the swag. It was perfect! Jayden happily ate and we both chugged water.

Finally we got settled in the car and set out to find Starbucks. There was a lot of laughing and I dropped an f-bomb and smacked my hands over my mouth. I have a sailor mouth but that rarely comes out on my blog or Twitter. Everyone laughed and started dropping their own f-bombs which made us laugh some more. It was good times! Oh and I got my Starbucks so the caffeine deprivation was over.

We got to the hotel on Treasure Island near where Manda lives and checked in. The room was in a great location. Jayden and I wouldn’t have to go far to get to some sand where he could relieve. I started calling it his litter box haha. They all carried in groceries! Gatorade and Pringles and bananas oh my! They are too sweet! Oh and lots of bottled water. There was a mini kitchen in the room. After a bit Davis and Tina left and Manda and I hung out as I started to settle into my room. There were two double beds which was nice since the second bed held my suitcases. There was a small table with two chairs, a dresser with a TV on it, and the little kitchen. It was cute! The table was perfect for my electronics.

We decided to order pizza and oh man was it delicious! I ate a ton which was good because I couldn’t eat much the rest of the trip. nerves, man!

We sat up and talked forever, took Jayden out and walked down to the ocean. That’s how close my room was to the water! Actually we didn’t get all the way to the water because Jayden did not want to walk anymore. We turned around and made our way back and Jayden left a present haha. No wonder he didn’t want to walk anymore! We picked it up and kept going. Manda freaked me out for a second when she said something like, “now if I can just figure out where the hotel is.” Wha! Turns out it’s really really dark on that beach at night. You aren’t even supposed to be out that far that late. Oops! Did you know there are birds that chirp at night? The sounds were so cool! the distant waves and the night birds. Awesome!

We got back and Manda left. Her house was within walking distance of the hotel. I got ready for bed, spent some time on Twitter, then curled up with Jayden and listened to my audio book. Jayden loved that bed haha! He doesn’t sleep in bed with me at home. He ended up taking up most of the bed himself haha!

So that was day one! My arms are just a tad sore from all the typing.

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Filed under #RoToTrop, accomplishment, apple Inc, Audio books, baseball, coffeeholic, fellowship, gratitude, iPhone, Jayden, jayden quirks, music, num num food, relieving, silly girl, twitter me this, working dog

2nd Annual Center of the Roof Top Ten Book List

(Links open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in the list. Links to Audible and Amazon when applicable for each book are found in the title links. Links links links.)

How is it time for the end of year book post? Didn’t I just post last year’s? I honestly don’t know where 2013 went but I’m glad to see it go. I had some good times though, going to Colorado to visit Chupa, going with B to Phoenix to see the Rays, making more amazing friends online and the books, especially the books! Audible introduced a daily deal as well as their usual sales so my reading increased this year. Yay books! There were a total of seventy-one this year, up from fifty-nine last year.

It seems to have been the year of the series as you’ll notice below. It was much easier to compile this list since I kept better track this year and instituted my rating system. I had nine “marriage material” rated books so I had to choose one from seventeen “so good!” rated books to fit the tenth slot. I thought it would be rather difficult but as I went through, the decision was made simple. So without further adieu, I give you the Roof’s Second Annual Top Ten Book List!

10. “The Company: A Novel of the CIA” by Robert Littell – narrated by Scott Brick

“The Company” is an awesome CIA book recommended to me by my friend Ricardo. It was so good! It follows the lives of four men as they leave college and enter life in The Company. I’ve never been into books about espionage but this one turned me on to stories in that realm.

I got so invested in these characters since we meet them when they’re young and impressionable and follow them into their careers with the CIA. Are they all on the side of the US? I should have written this up much sooner. I finished it at the end of May. I just remember it seemed non-stop, something always happening. There was a lot I found familiar since I read a book about Area 51. I feel like I’m learning more about the past from books than I ever did in school; how sad is that?

You know what else is sad? When I wrote that post, Audible had taken down the unabridged version of the book. I checked just now and they are showing an unabridged version but it’s the same length as the abridged version. Do you smell fish? I do. I wouldn’t bother with a sixteen hour version of this book. The one I read was epic and long and awesome. Shame on Audible for taking it down!

9.“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck – narrated by Dylan Baker

Whoa, I was still using an iPod to listen to books when I reviewed this back in February haha! Just a funny (to me) aside.

This book was incredible. Not only did it capture a dreadful time in American history, it did so with simple but poetic writing and characters you want to root for.

“Grapes of Wrath” got my blood boiling a lot. I suppose a book with the word wrath in the title has achieved its purpose if it makes one’s blood boil, right? The story follows the Joad family as they are kicked off their farm and forced to move west to California. Why were they kicked off their farm you ask? The dust bowl ruined their crops so the bank decided it could turn a better profit if it kicked the farmers off the land and replaced them all with tractors.

This book was hard to listen to and not because of the narrator, who did a fabulous job, rather because of the subject matter. Those people had to travel across the States with everything they owned strapped to their cars, burying their dead along the way. They were honest working folks who’s land was ruined and people on the west coast hated them for it. Ah, sometimes that’s just the American way I guess. ‘Grapes’ was very very good and I recommend anyone read it though I certainly couldn’t read it more than once like I do with a lot of books I like. The post I wrote on the book was very cynical and wrathful indeed.

8. “Jack of Diamonds” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower

How about another Ricardo recommendation? I can’t remember if he specifically recommended this or if I just got it since I loved Courtenay’s Australian Trilogy last year. Rest in Peace, Mr. Courtenay. Your stories will be missed.

I am so so so sad that we will not receive anymore fabulous stories and wonderful characters from the one and only Bryce Courtenay. I suppose I am lucky since this is only the fourth book I’ve read by him so I still have plenty more to indulge in. When “Jack of Diamonds” was over I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters, knowing they wouldn’t appear in future books.

In “Jack of Diamonds”, we follow the life of Jack Spayd from his modest Canadian upbringing during the Depression with an alcoholic father and loving mother all the way to his adventures in South Africa as an adult. One could tell Courtenay meant this to be a few books, but knew he would die before he could write any more so he wrapped up the story in a way that was faithful to all the characters. It was a wonderful book filled with music, laughter, drama and love. And will the bird be ok?

Humphrey Bower narrates this as well as all of Courtenay’s books and he’s brilliant! I think I listened to another narrator to rival his talents though. Stay tuned!

7. “Truth in Advertising” by John Kenny – narrated by Robert Petkoff

I found this book since I’m a fan of William Landay and he and Kenny are friends. Lucky me! This book was fabulous. I didn’t know what to expect going in to it and I’m glad I didn’t. I didn’t say much about it in the original post so as not to spoil the overall feeling of it for anyone else and I’ll stick to that here.

Oh side note, if I hadn’t had some sort of career in medicine back in the day, I was also interested in marketing and advertising, so I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of this book. Man this book was awesome! Definitely making the year end top ten list, no doubt.

I just remember feeling affected at the end of the book and that is always a good sign. The advertising aspects of it were great but it went so much deeper. Such a good book! I hear it has also been optioned for a movie. It will make a good movie methinks. Oh man I hope they do the baby scene!

6. “The Gypsey Morph” (The Genesis of Shannara Book 3) by Terry Brooks – narrated by Phil Gigante

This was the third book in a trilogy but I didn’t write them up in one trilogy post for some reason so this book gets the nod for all three. I loved this trilogy! I used to not be one for fantasy and such but my reading tastes have grown and evolved over the years. I think I have audio books to thank for that.

If you’re a fan of stories of magic and fantasy, I definitely recommend. If you don’t think you’re a fan, why not try it? Man, I’m getting sad all over again thinking about all the characters I’ve left behind. I suppose they’ll stay alive in my Audible library though, just like how the elves were kept alive in the elf stone…

Reading through the posts I’ve written on these books makes me want to go back and revisit the stories. Ah, so good! So magical and evil and wonderful!

5. The Joe Ledger Novels by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter

Ah, Joe Ledger! What up? I’ve missed you, man. I think you’re coming back to us next year? I hope so! This series is another one I have to thank Ricardo for. He finds the best books! If you click the link to the post, you’ll find links inside that one to the six books that are out. There’s actually only five Ledger books out but the sixth is a collection of Ledger short stories that tie up some loose ends. Man, thinking about these books makes me crave more of that characterarc!

There was no stopping me once I started the series. I had no desire to read anything else. I wanted to just keep hanging out with Joe Ledger and Mr. Church and Rudy Sanches and Top and Bunny and oddities oh my!

I flew threw these books, unable to put them down.

Oh, if you don’t like blood and gore, be forewarned. There are some very graphic scenes in every book. The action rarely stops so there’s a lot of blood. But, there’s also a service dog! How’s that for perfect? He’s so cool!

Oh and Ray Porter? Excellent narrator! He nails the badass tones during fights and then almost makes you cry when Ledger is feeling emotional. I’ve looked up Porter’s other books, he’s that good.

I did read one other book narrated by Ray Porter. I’ll sneak the link to that post in.

If you click the link to the Joe Ledger post, you’ll find comments from the author himself! How cool is that?

4. “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving – narrated by Grover Gardner

You know, the best part of writing Top Ten posts is revisiting my favorite books of the year. After I go and read through my post on the book I sit for a minute remembering. Happy making!

This book was narrated by Grover Gardner and I love him. He’s definitely one of my favorite narrators and he was a big reason I got this book. I swear if I ever write a book, I’m going to be incredibly picky about who narrates.

This book follows the life of an orphan named Homer Wells, brought up in an orphanage during the early 1900’s. Expectant mothers would come to the orphanage to have one of two things, an orphan, or an abortion.

Even though the subject matter was so serious, the underlying humor and Gardner’s delivery of it made me laugh out loud several times. Homer is such a lovable character and I still find myself thinking of him when I say, “right” during a conversation.

Right. Bah hahaha! Hahaha! Why have I not read any any more John Irving books? I need to remedy that in 2014, methinks. His humor is just too good. I’ve always been fond of dark comedy.

Oh! At the end of ‘Cider’, there’s some really good author’s notes. Apparently John Irving’s father was a doctor which was partly what inspired this book. I just love author’s notes! I highly recommend this book if you can stomach the subject matter.

3. The North and South Trilogy by John Jakes – narrated by Grover Gardner

Oh I’m having feelings and I haven’t read through the post on this yet. Ok, deep breath. Hey, back-to-back Grover Gardner. I didn’t plan that. That’s kinda cool. Ok Ro, you’re avoiding reading the post. Go.

*Sigh*

I can’t even, there’s just nothing I can write about it today. I’ll leave you with some quotes from the post.

*sigh*

Oh my I mean oh my seriously I can’t even I mean how do I write about this trilogy?

Did you ever see the North and South mini series with Patrick Swayze? I’ve always told people that my knowledge of the Civil War consisted only of what I remember from watching that in high school. See my high school didn’t know how to teach history. They just had us watch North and South and Roots and The Last of the Mohicans. All great, but shouldn’t school be about book learning?

The first book, “North and South” is about the time leading up to the {Civil} war. We meet the Main and Hazard families and begin to follow their lives. The Mains are a southern rice plantation family and the Hazards are northern iron workers. The two families come together when young Orry Main and George Hazard meet on the way to West Point. I immediately feared that at some point during the war, Orry and George would meet on the battlefield.

Each book is very long so I spent a lot of time with these people. Just after I started the first book, I got a bluetooth speaker for my iPhone so I started listening to my books with the Audible app. The speaker made it all very portable so I did a lot of listening while moving about the house. These two families became a part of my life, every single member. Even the bad ones, and oh yes some were bad. This trilogy had two of the best written villains I think I have ever encountered. I found myself questioning my love for humans when I wished some of the things I wished on these people. Good thing they were fictional.

Oh, those villains! *Shakes fist* Deplorable human beings they were.

Oh, this trilogy! And wouldn’t you know, I actually got Ricardo to read them instead of the other way around? We got to discuss the villains. Terrible no good people! Ok I should really move on. I feel like I need some sorbet to cleanse my emotions first haha!

2. The Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia – narrated by Bronson Pinchot

Any guesses as to who recommended this? Who else. Thanks Ricardo! First of all,

Honestly, whoever wrote the summaries for these books did them a vast disservice in my opinion. A private detective who uses magic? Um, isn’t there already a hugely popular series of books like that? The book just didn’t sound appealing to me at all. However Ricardo has never recommended a book I didn’t like and it was a daily deal so I took a chance. Oh thank goodness I did!

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a publisher’s summary that was so off the mark for a series of books. I’ve searched on Twitter for readers and fans of the series and they are hard to find which makes me sad. This series was simply fabulous!

“Hard Magic” begins when a farmer is annoyed by yet another car full of “Okies” comes by looking for work. I read “Grapes of Wrath” earlier this year so that immediately placed the time setting of the book for me during the Dust Bowl era. The farmer notices a scrawny teenaged girl in the car with grey eyes and against his better judgement,decides to intervene on the girl’s behalf since he recognizes her as having a special magical power that kills most before they reach adulthood. It’s a good thing he decided to take her under his wing. She quickly became my favorite character. Faye Vierra! I adore you!

I became rather obsessed with Faye haha! She’s one of the most fun characters I’ve ever read.

I soon realized I had been transported to an alternate history, this one full of all sorts of magical powers and interesting characters mixed with real people from that time. If a name sounded familiar, chances are looking it up would lead me to a Wikipedia page about that person and their life. Examples are John Moses Browning, Jay Edgar Hoover himself and Raymond Chandler, to name just a few.

Oh and there are airships, did I mention airships? Yeah, remember how I feel about the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld? The Grimnoir Chronicles is the Leviathan series on steroids! By the time the first book was over I was giggling and applauding and I couldn’t wait for the next one.

Remember above when I mentioned a narrator who could give Humphrey Bower a run for his money?

The narration? Bravo! Bronson Pinchot does so many different voices and accents, from the deep slow voice of Jake to the soft accented voice of Faye to the odd and creepy Pale Horse and on and on, he was brilliant! It wasn’t until I was grabbing links for this post a couple days ago that I read he played Balki on Perfect Strangers! You could have knocked me over with a feather! Luckily he narrates the whole series.

This series is full of heart pounding battles with weapons from guns and swords to all sorts of magic you’ve never even dreamed of!

I couldn’t help but think about my dad when we went to see Independence Day all those years ago. He pointed out how frustrating it was that everything they seemed to try failed. Not everything goes perfectly four our heroes in these books either.

One of the best characters introduced in “Warbound” is the thirties version of Hannibal Lecter. Creepy! There was what I think of as an X-Files reference with this black oil stuff that made my stomach turn.

Some of these scenes could be straight out of a screen play they are so well written. You can literally see the action happening. One of my favorite mental images was of a fragile origami duck in the palm of an armored suit.

I simply adored this trilogy! I don’t think I have ever finished a trilogy and then immediately began reading book one again like I did with this one. When it was over I just wanted to peak back at how it began. I honestly didn’t think I would listen to all three books again but that is exactly what I did. There were little details I had missed the first time as well as some things that became clear the second time through since I was in pain, on drugs and grieving the first time through. I think that’s another reason I didn’t want to let the trilogy go. It had been a huge comfort to me through what was probably the most difficult few weeks of this year.

Thank you so much, Mr. Correia! You helped me through some really bad times. Oh, and I’d like a Grimnoir ring, please and thank you.

1. “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green – narrated by Kate Rudd

Just leaned my head back and had a moment of quiet reflection about this book before going to read my post on it. I knew about halfway through the book that it was going to get the number one spot on this list. It was going to take something phenomenal to bump it and nothing did. This book was sheer emotion for me from start to finish. I laughed and giggled and sobbed, oh did I sob. I haven’t read the post on it yet. The movie just finished filming and luckily John Green was rather active in it so I hope it’s wonderful. When the movie poster was released, my friend @MandaGator described it to me and I got choked up all over again. Here’s the poster.

I’m not sure I would have gotten TFIOS if it hadn’t been a daily deal. I abbreviated the title because John Green himself does too. How do I know this? At the end of the book, there was an interview with John Green and he mentioned Twitter so as I lay in bed, tears drying on my cheeks, I looked him up on my phone.

This book centers around teenagers so I suppose it could be classified as a young adult novel but that certainly doesn’t mean adults won’t enjoy it, I mean I am an adult. Sorta. I try and stay young emotionally. Not young emotionally, you know what I mean. anyway, Hazel Grace oh wait she only likes when Augustus uses her middle name, Hazel is a sixteen year old girl who has ben fighting terminal cancer. The book is written from her point of view and I love it right from the get go because she talks about how her story isn’t going to focus on the typical cancer kid book stuff.

I knew I’d end up bawling at the end of this book and I was not wrong. I loved loved loved this book! Right now it’s definitely getting the top spot on this year’s top ten list. It’s rare that a book touches deep emotions and this one surely did. From the awfulness of cancer which I’ve experienced, not in myself *knock on wood* but with my mom and B’s mom, to the having major limitations when you’re young and all you want to do is live, to the love of books and boys and music and America’s Next Top Model…

There is a lump forming in my throat.

I’m all glowing inside remembering it and how it made me feel and how the characters knew exactly what it’s like to be me. John Green, thank you! Audible, thank you! Oh and the movie just wrapped filming. John Green was at the filming so I know this because of his tweets. I want to say I won’t watch the movie since the voices will be all wrong and I’m not sure I want to feel the flood of emotion again but I know I’ll watch it. Oh, I miss you Hazel! I miss you Augustus! You’ll be back in the movie! Yay!

The teens in this book just “got me”, you know? I mean they understand. I understood them. I wasn’t just listening to this book, I was transported into it, like that Aha video from the eighties or something. I was there with Hazel and Augustus at the bones and on the plane and I watched them in the convenient store parking lot. I fell in love with them and when it was over I felt like they all died. But they are all still with me in my heart because a little bit of my life seemed to have been in each one of them. I’m close to sobbing again.

Oh! Wait! Kate Rudd, bravo! Wonderful job narrating this book! Hazel’s friend with the slightly European accent? Haha! Great job! Ok why am I writing that as if I’m writing it to Kate? This book, it just makes me gush!

They just aren’t going to sound right in the movie I know it! Ok, stop it with the contempt prior to investigation, Ro. I can’t wait for the movie so I can be with these people again! This book is the pure definition of my marriage material rating.

We aren’t done yet! From the cutting room floor:

Honorable Mentions

“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King – narrated by Will Patton

What an excellent book “Doctor Sleep” is! I don’t think I have ever literally applauded when an audio book was done. I certainly did with this one. It was after King’s afterword and the way he ended it, in his own voice, made me squeal with delight, clap my hands and bounce on the couch. So so so so good!

*I’m surprised I couldn’t fit this in to a top ten spot so it gets the first honorable mention. Oh and I’m still a little scared of Joe Maddon now, thanks Mr. King.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling – narrated by Robert Glenister

I really really really hope the character of Cormoran Strike in this book returns in future books. Rowling? Are you hearing me? I want more!

*Rowling works magic with a detective story!

“Stay Close” by Harlan Coben – narrated by Scott Brick

The “supporting cast” was excellent as well. Ok, Ken and Barbie, can you say creepy? What is up with those two? I mean seriously, what is up with them? *Shiver*

*Trust me, that book is not about dolls.

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn – narrated by Ann Marie Lee

Gillian Flynn, I don’t know whether to hug you or slap you. Where do the things in your head come from? Cancel that. I don’t want to know.

*Teeth. *Whimper*

“A Game of Thrones” (A Song of Ice and Fire book 1) by George R. R. Martin – narrated by Roy Dotrice

I can’t even begin to try and describe the plot because it’s so detailed and intricately woven together. Basically there’s a king and that family and a lord and that family and they marry this family and those families hate each other and then there’s this other family that is pretty much all dead way over there and it’s only hinted at what that family’s relation is to these other families and then you have this wall, this gigantic wall and there are bad things on the other side so the men of the black have to guard it and winter is coming. Winter is coming. Winter is coming.

*Whadda huh? Yeah pretty much. I’m on the third book in the series and still loving it.

“Harvest” by Tess Gerritsen – narrated by George Guidall

This book had so many twists I almost felt sea sick. You naturally root for Abby and one thing after another happens to her so you find yourself groaning as yet another force holds her down.

*The title is not referring to a pretty moon or fall festival.

“Deadly Straits” by R. E. McDermott – narrated by Todd Haberkorn

His character is quite funny and sarcastic and a bit of a jerk, but he’d be the first one to admit that. I fell for him instantly.

*McDermott is a self published author who actually went to the trouble of making his books available in audio format. Yay!

***Special Mention****

“The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon – narrated by Alana Kerr

I made that comparison to Harry Potter since it seems Shannon’s series and even her writing are being compared to J. K. Rowling and her magical world and I honestly cannot fathom the comparison. Saying “The Bone Season” is like Harry Potter is like saying baseball and basketball are similar because both balls are round.

*This is Samantha Shannon’s debut novel, written when she was only twenty-one. I think her next books are going to be pretty incredible!

They never made it within a mile of the cutting room:

Dishonorable Mentions

“Relic” (Pendergast, Book 1) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – narrated by David Colacci

This book is getting my equivalent of 1 out of 5 stars. I think the narration and production are a big reason why. Good narraters tend to make you forget about plot holes and idiot characters.

*Totally wanted that woman to get eaten in the exhibit.

“Jaws” by Peter Benchley – narrated by Erik Steele

For me the only likable character was the shark.

*Can the shark eat the girl from “Relic”?

“The Hunt for Red October” by Tom Clancy – narrated by J. Charles

Clancy should probably take some of the blame since he laid down a huge chunk of the plot way too soon. You know immediately what the Russian captain of the submarine, The Red October, is up to. The whole first half of the book gives background on characters and lays out exactly how the captain plans to accomplish his goal. This all might have been interesting but the horrible narration just kept distracting me.

*And it would have been fine if it hadn’t been for that horrible meddling narrator. It was so bad I had to include an audio file of me in the post.

“Strangers” by Dean Koontz – Narrated by Dick Hill

By the time I reached the end and had all the mysteries explained I just didn’t care.

*Whoa, I had forgotten that Ricardo recommended this. He has more than made up for it!

And that does it for 2013, phew! That was a lot of fun to write. I hope it was fun to read. Last year several people told me about books they bought based on the list so I hope I’ve given you some good recommendations.

Here’s hoping 2014 brings us all health and happiness and great books!

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Filed under 2013 Book List, Amazon, apple Inc, Audio books, family, fellowship, iPhone, misty eyes, new year, twitter me this

“Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness” (Midnighters Trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld – narrated by Voiceover (iOS Kindle app)

Link to Midnighters #1 review

Friday morning I was super sleepy after Snorey McSnorison kept me up half the night so I wanted to just lay down again for a bit and decided to return to the ‘Midnighters’ book I had abandoned way back in May or June. I had forgotten about upgrading my iPhone since then so I had to sign back into Amazon in the Kindle app and when I returned to the book, it seemed like the bookmark had jumped ahead a bit. I tried to go back and ended up at the beginning of the book. I decided to just listen again since I couldn’t really remember much. I left it at my usual speaking rate instead of slowing it down like I had with the last book and before I knew it I was back at the halfway point where I had left off. Turns out the bookmark hadn’t skipped ahead haha. I finished the entire book in one day with Voiceover talking nice and fast. I certainly couldn’t imagine doing all my books that way, but for books unavailable in audio, it’s a great backup.

One thing that really stood out to me in this book is that usually the second books of trilogies tend to be my favorite. There’s no setting up or concluding so second books tend to just be action packed good fun. This book didn’t really do it for me. The first one was so creepy with the introduction of the monsters that come out in the secret hour. This time I knew what they were so the creep factor was negated. Though the new human element to the monsters was kind of interesting.

I’ll read the third book at some point because it’s Scott Westerfeld so come on, of course I’ll read it. I’m also betting the third book gets crazy as the trilogy is concluded, especially since now a Midnighter might just have an inside track on the monsters.

This series just is not my favorite from Mr. Westerfeld my hero. I really have to believe that the fact these aren’t in audio format is playing a huge part in how I feel about them. I just don’t experience that heart pounding adventure that I do with a good narrator. Very grateful for the Kindle app though, that’s for sure.

“Touching Darkness” at the Amazon Kindle Store

More Roof Reviews

***Completely unrelated to books, have six happys. It might get a bit dusty when you read that. I think I might start adding random links to things I like in my book posts. Maybe. Who knows. Like Easter Eggs? Haha!***

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Filed under 2013 Book List, Amazon, iPhone, NaBloPoMo 2013, Voiceover

From the Desk of my Sleep Deprived Cat Audio

So every time I write a sleep deprived post, which is a really odd tradition to have but I seem to have made it a tradition because as soon as I decided to say screw it and get up at 5:30 this morning after laying awake since at least 4:00 I thought, I’ll need to write a post. I also always seem to write really rambly run on sentences in these. I planned on starting this post another way but then a described movie started in iTunes even though I swear I set them all to skip when shuffle so I had to go do that in iTunes. It was The Glenn Miller Story, have you seen that?

Right, so I meant to start off this post by saying I always look back on the previous sleep deprived post when I write one of these. In the last one, I wrote about how I had to have a colonoscopy because of my recurring diverticulitis and I was all doom and gloom about it, being pretty sure there’d be nothing they could do about it, that they were just ruling out something more serious, my life was already messed up so throw more at me oh woe is me cry me a river pour me another. Well guess what? Yeah, gastro doc said, “everything looks fine, you only have a small area of diverticula, keep taking the fiber and probiotics and you should be fine.”

Hmmm, will it really be that simple? Well that was back in April, the bum hose and I’ve been taking the supplements as suggested since and I’ve been fine. I even found the probiotics he recommended on Amazon for way cheaper than they were at Walgreens. I signed up to have them delivered every month and saved even more. So all my woe is me talk was just silly.

So this morning I was laying on the couch for a bit with Timmy and he was purring like crazy so I decided to grab a quick voice note.

In that I mention that his front paws are declawed and I say I don’t believe in that. I just want to clarify what I meant. I just can’t knowingly cut off a cat’s first knuckle. My mom and I always trained our cats not to claw the furniture. I’ve lost that battle in this apartment since B never trained Fi not to claw furniture so there was no point in trying to train Spinelli. So yeah, that’s what I meant by not believing in declawing. When I listened back on that I thought that was an odd choice of wording haha.

At one point I jingle Timmy’s bell collar and it made me think of Carin and Steve. Bells!

Timmy totally sounds like a pidgin at one point. I’m not sure if it’s really as funny as I thought or if I’m just delirious from sleep deprivation.

I totally couldn’t stop the recording at the end. the ol’ two finger double tap no longer works in iOS 7.0.3 I guess.

So how bout that for some sleep deprived fun with cats? First time I’ve put audio in one of these I think. I haven’t slept well the last few nights. Nature calls and wakes me up and I can’t get back to sleep for awhile. This morning I just gave up. I realized after I’d already had coffee that I forgot to use my meditation bells. Gah! Reading that last post, I sure remembered them then! Grrr. Just hope I sleep tonight.
I wrote this post much later in the day than normal for this category. It’s 1:33pm, do you know where your feet are?

I write the word “so” too much.

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Filed under Amazon, cats, coffeeholic, doc, Fi, iPhone, iTunes, mom, plugs, random stuff, silly girl, Sleep Deprived Fun, Timmy

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

“Metro Girl” by Janet Evanovich – narrated by C.J. Critt

When B and I went to West Virginia for Christmas in 2008, his sister-in-law gave me a huge box full of audio books on CD that she had from when she used to do a lot of commuting. I would reach into the “mystery box of books”, pop a CD in, hope it was the beginning of a book, and sit back on my couch. That’s pretty much how I spent my early blind days, the mystery box and audio books a friend would bring from the campus library at the school she taught for.

“Metro Girl” was one of the mystery books and I enjoyed it so much back then I listened to it again immediately after I finished it. I had read quite a few Janet Evanovich books before this one and while I liked it, I wished it had been narrated by Lorelei King like the Stephanie Plum series was.

“Metro Girl” is one of the few books I kept from that box and I had recently copied all my audio books on CD to my computer for easier listening. When I finished “The Cider House rules” last month and tried to read “David Copperfield”, I decided I needed something light and ‘Metro’ was on my iPod.

I enjoyed it again but oh man do I not like the narration haha. I’m surprised a few reviews at Audible spoke highly of it. The lead male is supposed to be this sexy Nascar driver but he sounds like a bumbling fool. I kept trying to picture Matthew McConaughey but it didn’t work.

This is just a cute book though, about a thirty year old woman who’s brother goes missing in Florida. She runs off from baltimore to try and find him and runs into the Nascar guy, who’s boat her brother seems to have disappeared in.

Janet Evanovich creates funny characters and puts them in some crazy situations. I didn’t know until I got the link to this book on Amazon that this book has turned into a series. Unfortunately the next book is narrated by the same woman so I don’t think I’ll be getting it. Maybe I’ll read it on the now accessible Kindle app on my iPhone.

Rating: Entertaining

“Metro Girl” at Audible ~ “Metro Girl” at Amazon

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Filed under 2013 Book List, Audio books, family, iPhone

Zombies Are Good For Your Health

As of the first of the year, my awesome gym situation at the blind center ended. It’s a long story, basically the hours changed and it didn’t work for me anymore. I had decided I would join a gym and was going to wait until February for the resolution rush to die down before I picked a gym and signed my life and soul away in a contract. My apartments have a little fitness room but it only works for me this time of year because in the summer, it’s way too hot to walk there and the room isn’t cool enough.

While I waited for February to roll around, I decided I’d do my TRX for strength training and dance for cardio. I get so bored with dance though. I don’t know enough moves haha! I decided to try this app I’d been hearing a lot about on Twitter. It had also been posted about at AppleVis so I knew it was mostly accessible. I remember reading something about the supplies part of the game not being accessible, but I just wanted the exercise part. I wanted to run from zombies.

Um, what? Did I read that right? Zombies?

You read that right. It’s an app called Zombies, run! and I absolutely love it! When I first started hearing about the app I didn’t think I could play it because I can’t go running outside and I have no treadmill but I started seeing other blind people talking about running around in their apartments or even just running in place. The more I heard about the app the more I wanted it and it has quickly become my favorite app aside from Fleksy.

Zombies, run! is basically an audio game. You can select the length of your missions, about thirty minutes or about an hour, you select your music playlists, choose whether you want it to shuffle or not, decide if you want to enable zombie chases, start your mission and begin pumping those legs.

The first story mission, (choose this mode to listen to a developing story you’re a part of with every run) starts with you riding in a helicopter. You are going to be dropped into a settlement where survivors of the zombie apocalypse need your help. Unfortunately your helicopter doesn’t quite make it and you have to run if you’re going to get to the settlement and safety. There is a man talking into your headphones, saying he can see you but he’s not sure you can hear him. I literally waved my arms above my head hahahaa!

EAch mission develops the story from there and you get to know the characters as you run each time. When the mission is over, radio mode is enabled and your music keeps playing along with fun voice clips. I do my long stretching sessions to radio mode. I love it!

Ok, wrote all that yesterday and now I’m writing tonight after doing a zombie run this morning. I jotted down some notes after today’s run so I wouldn’t forget. I finally got the hang of the zombie chases. For whatever reason my first several runs did not include any zombie chases even though I had GPS enabled. Then all of the sudden a few runs ago, I had a zombie chase, but I was caught even though I pumped my legs like crazy. To describe it exactly, I pretty much reenacted the Maniac scene in Flashdance. If you’ve never seen that movie, I’m sorry.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to read tutorials which I did not too long ago. I should have from the start. Oh well haha! I learned that when the zombie chase starts, your pace needs to pick up for up to a minute. Oh! So today I had two zombie chases and I evaded the mobs both times. Go me!

I also tried something new today. If you’re not blind, I’m sorry. If you are blind, chances are you have a white cane. This worked perfectly today to keep me running in one spot. I get the best results by mimicking running as best I can in one place in my apartment. It also happens to be right under an air vent. The problem was, I was drifting and bumping the walls if I didn’t hang on to a wall. But that seemed to constrict my movements. So today I jammed my white cane in the corner where the floor and wall meet and it worked like a charm! I was able to still pump the arm that held the cane but I didn’t drift and bump the walls.

Today I had to wonder if other runners get so into the game. I’ve really gotten in to the character of Runner 5. That’s who you are as a player. I wave at the guys when they say stuff, today I talked to them saying things like, “I’ll get that package!” Then I laugh at myself and think, I’d never have this much fun if I was doing this at the gym or on the streets. Then after the run was done and I was stretching while I took off my knee braces and sneakers, I was imagining the other inhabitants of Able Township walking by and patting my back since I had just returned from a mission with a very important box. I imagined that they all knew by now that I can’t really talk when I get back from a mission because I must cool down and stretch and stuff. Is it the goofy writer in me?

I really enjoyed radio mode today as I stretched. Jack and Sam I believe their names are, and today Janine got some talk time in which was funny. I just love radio mode! I have a playlist I created called Zombies Run that I have selected and Sam and Jack will talk a bit and then say they’ll play a song, so it’s like they’ve selected the songs you’ve selected. Today they said something like, this may or not be a Canadian we play next and I wanted so badly for one of the Canadian artists I have in the playlist to play, but alas, twas Abba.

Ok, That’s all I have for now. I adore this app! Oh, random funny from today, as the computer voice told me which supplies I picked up, “crutches” sounded an awful lot like “crotches”. Hahaha! Just imagine a robot computer voice saying, “collected too pairs of crotches”. Hmmm. Zombie crotches?

Oh wait! I can’t end this yet because I forgot the best part. The developers are working on Zombies, run! 2 and guess what? it’s going to be completely accessible. Do you know how excited I was to find out about this the other day? I’ve been able to manage supplies on the website which I found out after I got a mission that couldn’t be unlocked because I hadn’t supplied the hospital. I asked the @ZombiesRunGame Twitter account if there was some way around this and I got an answer immediately, that it should work on the website and sure enough it did. But in the next version of the game, the developers are making the supplies part of the phone app accessible. Yay! I adore developers who care! Needless to say that with my TRX and this app, I won’t be signing away my first born child to a gym. Yay!

Ok this turned into a monster post. Or rather a zombie post. Ba dum bum, ching!

*Addendum* this just in, click here to read about how Zombies,run! was born.

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Filed under accessibility, accomplishment, blind tips, cool product, funnies, gratitude, iPhone, music, plugs, silly girl, twitter me this, white cane, workouts

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