This blog has moved. It can now be found at: aplaceamongthestones.wordpress.com.
I’m not planning to delete this blog, but it won’t be updated anymore.
This blog has moved. It can now be found at: aplaceamongthestones.wordpress.com.
Just a little quiz I found on www.blogthings.com
Judge for yourself if it’s correct
***You Should Be A Poet***
You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways.
And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery…
Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever.
You’re already naturally a poet, even if you’ve never written a poem.
due to my disabilities, I use quite a few aids: hearing aids, white cane, etc. One of these is a tactile vibrating alarm clock. It’s basically an ordinary alarm, except that instead of going ‘bleep’ or ‘ ring ring’, it sets of a special vibrating pad which is placed under the pillow. Obviously, the idea is that the vibration wakes you up. (Mine also has a plug for a light, but obviously I don’t use this feature). The front cover also comes off, enabling a blind person to feel the hands and raised dots which indicate the numbers.
I’ve had this clock for so long that I just take it for granted. Until very recently that is.
Last week, the vibrating pad suddenly stopped working. I assumed it had packed up due to constant use, so took it home and brought my other vibrating pad from home with me to Bartimeus.
so yesterday I plugged it in to test, and what do you know? It didn’t work. turns out it was the alarm clock itself all along. Brilliant.
There’s nothing I can do about it until I go home on Friday, so for the next few days at least, I’ll be dependent on the staff to wake me up in the morning. I sleep without my hearing aids in so I’m literally deaf as a plank at night. This means that an ordinary alarm is not an option for me.
I’ve always had a thing about being as independent as possible, so I’m actually rather anoyed about this whole alarm business. I feel like I’ve gone back a step, having to be woken up by someone else, when up til now I could manage fine by myself.
It’s also made me realise how dependent I actually am on all those modern gadgets and gismos I take for granted. It’s a similar story with my hearing aids. they run on batteries, which of course go flat after some time, in my case about a week or so. I’ve learnt the hard way to always have a packet of spares with me wherever I go. Believe me, it’s bloody hard work trying to function normally with only one ear working, when the ear doesn’t work well at the best of times.
but back to the alarm clock: I suppose I’ll just have to stick it out til Friday and hope the staff don’t forget to wake me. And if they do, then at least I’ve got a valid reason for oversleeping
After having used a computer for about ten years, I only recently came up with the bright idea of using it to record all my old analog cassette tapes on and storing them as mp3 files on a dvd.
Yes, I know, it’s been possible to do this for donkey’s years, but somehow I never thought of it.
When I still used to listen to cassettes, I prefered them to cds or computer files for listening to audio books. I hadn’t yet discovered how to jump to a particular place in an audio file and cd players tend to skip back to the beginning of a track, which makes it difficult to find where you were in, say, a half hour track of an audio book or a play.
Now however, neither factors are a problem for me. Plus most commercial audio books are only sold on cd nowadays.
I actually got the idea of digitising my cassettes from my best friend. she is doing the same right now to protect numerous recordings she’s made over the years from getting damaged or destroyed.
In my case, it’s more a question of storing and space. My original cassette collection took up two entire shelves and about half of them were empty tapes I never use anymore. So, a few eeks ago i ‘surprised’ my father with a gigantic pile of recordable cassette tapes – he’s the only person I know who still uses them – and another of old story tapes I didn’t want anymore.
Result: two shelves worth of extra space to store souvenirs and a renewed liking of Terry Pratchett (British author). I have about half his ‘discworld series’ and have recently learned that he’s published at least 15 more since I bought my last one. So, that’s already some ideas for a Christmas/ birthday wish list
Plus, listening to my well loved audio books will be a lot easier, now that i won’t have to first locate the tape I want among the different piles and then fish out my cassette player from the bottom of the cupboard.
But from now on, I’m switching entirely to cds and downloads. It’ll save a lot of work and time recording.
This morning I went into town by myself for the first time since before the summer holidays. And to put it mildly, it didn’t go well.
As well as the usual minor things that go wrong, there were also several obstickals that aren’t normally there which made me completely loose my bearings trying to get round them. I was stressed to start with, this being the first time after a gap of eight weeks or so and all that unexpected stuff in the way didn’t help.
I’m fine when there’s nobody there to see me blundering around waving my cane vaguely about in the hope of locating some tactile cue I recognise. However when there are people around I always feel like a real idiot when I loose my bearings. And of course I had to end up nearly wandering onto the cycle track (luckily I felt the curbe in time) and almost falling over something that I think was a bike rack right in the centre of town.
by the time I eventually reached the supermarket, I just wanted to curl up in a corner and never emerge again.
Fortunately the staff member in my house had rung a colleague in another house to ask if she could act as backup, in case it all went pear-shaped, so I did have somewhere to turn. I ended up calling her to come and rescue me, as I just couldn’t face going all the way back by myself.
With hindsight, I think it was mainly because I was already nervous and tense, that it got to me so badly. I’d normally just get a bit pissed off about the bright spark who left that bike/car/container/whatever slap bang in the middle of the pavement, give it a wallop with my cane and navigate round it.
Still, there’s a first time – or in my case, first time after a long break – for everything. But I have learnt one thing: to always have my mobile with me.
I’m not talking about restaurant menus, I mean those menus on little screens you get on almost every electronic device nowadays. It may be very user friendly for the average person, but I hate them. You see, to be able to operate anything, you have to be able to read the screen, and being blind, I can’t.
Because of this, I’ve been unable to find a digital multi-track recorder and can only use a very simple mp3 player with far less space on it than I’d like.
It also took me ages to find a (musical) keyboard that I could operate without help, ‘cos most models I tried relied almost entirely on menus to use them.
The only devices that are garanteed to be fully accessible are ones with no screen. The problem is, this screen free hardware tends not to be as good as the stuff with screens. Without a screen, every function would need a seperate button, so the more functions you put on something, the more buttons you have to cram on as well. So of course it makes sense to keep it simple. Most people who want loads of extra options would just go for a more advanced model.
That’s what really frustrates me. Simply because of the stupid screen, I will never be able to use stuff most people take for granted. Take the ipod. I’d love one of those, but I know there’s no point getting one; I would never be able to operate it easily and quickly, like a sighted person. There’s the Ipod Shuffle, which has no screen, but it’s only got 500 MB storage – don’t know how many tracks that is. Since I already have at least four times that much music on my pc, it wouldn’t really work for me either.
Sometimes I just wish I was a designer or something. Then I’d design accessible, functional alternatives to all that inaccessible stuff out there.
Yesterday and this morning I’ve been looking through a whole bunch of cds I listened to as a child. I wanted to rip the cds I really like onto my computer.
It quite surprised me how many memories seem to have attached themselves to those songs. Not anything specific, just general stuff from that period; the primary school I attended, the people I knew there, etc.
It’s not just music that sends me off down memory lane. Recently, I was clearing out my room and came across all kinds of stuff that had been sitting on shelves for years. There were cups I’d won at judo tournaments, cclay models i’d made at school, souveniers I bought on holidays abroad, and so on.
I suppose it’s partly ‘cos I’m blind, that these tactile objects mean so much to me. I can’t see photos, so these are the things that give me a ‘link’ to the things I’ve done in the past.
It can be a bit of a bugger at times though, especially when I’m supposed to be tidying up. I can end up wasting loads of time listening to old tapes or thinking about the holiday where I bought that particular item.
It also can make throwing stuff out quite hard sometimes. My brain says: ‘you don’t need that and you can use the space for other stuff you do need/use/enjoy’, but there’s always a little voice going: ‘yeah, but that was a favourite toy of mine’ (or something similar).
Maybe it’s ‘cos back then my life was far simpler. I didn’t need to worry about the future and I wasn’t expected to work on my independence. And all those old toys, dolls and whatever reminds me of that time.
Of course, I want to be independent and get somewhere in life, but part of me wishes I could just go back to being that little girl, who had nothing to worry about.
This afternoon, I was surfing around the net for Pagan sites and came across an anti anti-pagan website. It was set up as a reply to all the false claims that are out there about paganism and witchcraft.
I’ve fortunately never been personally told I’m evil or a devil worshiper or whatever, so some of the things I read really amazed me.
I clicked one of the links in this site, just out of curiousity, to see if these things were really on that site. The actual page linked to seems to have been removed (I got an error page when I clicked the link), but I did have a nose round the site itself.
It was a Christian website, and the jest of it seemed to be that anyone who doesn’t believe in God is leading a worthless and sinful life. It actually used the term ‘worthless life’ on one page.
Now, please don’t get me wrong here. I’ve got absolutely no problem with others who don’t believe the same as me. I respect another’s beliefs, whatever they are. What I do have a problem with, is people who seem to think that their belief/religion is the only valid one and that whoever doesn’t share it is somehow a bad person.
And being Pagan doesn’t make me – or anyone else – a satanist or sinner. Satanism is a seperate religion/belief. I’m not going to say anything about it, as I don’t really know enough to say whether it really is evil or not.
But just ‘cos somebody doesn’t believe in God or Jesus, it doesn’t automatically make them a Christian hater or something.
There’s a quote on the anti antipagan site, in relation to the Gospel, which I think sums up, certainly my view, very well: ‘We know it’s there if we want it and that’s not what we choose’.
Basically, I’m not denying Christianity (and I suspect neither are other Pagans), I just chose a different path.
I could rant about all the myths, prejuses and misconceptions around Paganism for hours, but I think you’d be better off visiting the anti anti-pagan website yourself if you’re interested to learn what Paganism really is/means.
This afternoon, I brought up the possibility of going to see a British comedian, Marcus Brigstocke, live this autumn. Obviously this is in England, so we’d have to travel there and stay at least one night.
Now, I know – and so do my parents – that it’s nobody’s fault that I can’t do this indipendantly, but every time I ask them stuff like this, one part of me always feels like I’m a burdon on them. Afterall, they’re the ones who have to give their time and energy so that I can do these kinds of things.
It also made me realise how dependant I actually am in situations like these. It’s my parents who arrange everything – transport, hotels, etc. And if there hadn’t been any convenient locations or dates to choose from I wouldn’t have been able to go, full stop.
This dependance on others really hacks me off sometimes. Especially when the whole outcome depends on how convenient or not it is for the other person.
I get this all the time at Bartimeus. If I want to go into town for something, I never know until the same day whether anybody will be free to take me. There’s no point asking a member of staff the day before. All they say is: “Well, I don’t know, you’ll have to ask so and so on the day if she’s free”.
This can be really frustrating. If I wasn’t disabled, I could just go shopping when I felt like it, and not be wondering the whole week if there’ll be anyone free to take me on the one free day I get.
And I hate that little voice that keeps saying ‘isn’t that a bit too much to ask of them?’ I know my parents don’t see me that way.
Anyway, we discussed going over to England, and my dad’s promised to have a look at the available dates (he’s on tour right through autumn) and let me know tomorrow. So fingers crossed.
And to that little voice I’d say: bugger that. I’ve got just as much right to do stuff I enjoy as anyone else. And if that means bothering a few people who are only too glad to make me happy, then I’ll do it.
Lately, I been trying, hopefully like a lot of other people, to be a bit more aware of the environment. I.E. remembering to switch my computer off when I leave it for a long time, not leaving the tap on for nothing, that sort of thing. And it got me thinking about how being disabled might effect how ‘green’ I actually am.
To be honest, I’m getting a bit confused over this. I mean, on the one hand I think I am more green than the average person: I never have any lights on and I’ll never have my own car. but on the other hand, there are all the electronic gadgets I use because I’m disabled: computer, daisy player (a device for playing audio books, designed for the visually impaired), colour detector (the name is self explanitory) and of course my hearing aids. These guzzle up batteries at the rate of about two a week – one in each aid.
There’s also the issue of braille books. These use far more paper than the average print books. Braille only comes in one size. That is however one thing i can ‘make up for’ by putting read books out to be recycled.
And all my varius electronic devices? Like I said above, I switch off my pc whenever I leave the room for longer than ten minutes. And I give old hearing aid batteries – and eye drops – to my parents to give to a special bus that comes round every so often to collect and dispose of those kinds of things.
So, does not using lights and not having a car really make up for all the energy I use with my other electronics? I really don’t know. There’s probably a way of working it out, but to be perfectly honest, I can’t really be bothered.
I think, that doing your best where you as an individual can, is all you really can do to save the planet.
It’s probably become a terrible clishé, but I’m going to say it anyway: it’s not easy being green.