Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sea-Otters Crossing

Last week saw  me, my wife and Leif my guide dog on a weeks vacation at the coast.

Friday had us in Moss Landing, CA. Moss Landing is a small place just south of Santa Cruz it lies on Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. You might miss the town altogether if it were not for the giant electricity generating station beside the highway and a string of delicious fruit and vegetable stands.

Our reason for visiting Moss Landing though was our required trip to Phil's Fish Market.

Phil's is a fish restaurant, bar, retail store par excellance beside the small harbor in town.

If you visit, I suggest that you ignore that Phil's looks like a steel shuttered warehouse and take a leaf from the suggestion that something great is going on inside the grey exterior. Outside you will be lucky to find a place in the small car park. In fact you might find the street jam packed with cars, trucks and motor cycles from all over the Western U.S.

Believe me these people are probably inside Phil's and buying fishy meals by the platter.

Anyway I am digressing from my theme today. Take it as honest, Phil's if you are on this part of the coast is somewhere you should eat.

Back to my main theme: Sea Otters Crossing.

A road sign, yellow diamond with black shape of a sea otter on it, below a 15 mile per hour speed limit.
Sea-Otter Crossing Road Sign

Having crossed Highway 1, to enter Moss Landing, our car crossed a small bridge beside the harbor and my wife let out a squeal.

There beside the road was a new roadsign. A bright Yellow warning Diamond shaped sign with the black silohuette of a sea otter. This together with a speed restriction of 15 miles per hour.

The people of Moss Landing have created a crossing for Sea-Otters. These animals are as cute looking as can be.

I have regularly seen them up and down the central coast, swimming and basking in quiet inlets and kelp beds.

Once hunted for their soft fur, they almost became extinct, now they are spreading back into their once vast natural habitats.

But this is the first time we have seen a real roadsign warning of their presence and good on you people of Moss Landing.

Good on you.

Monday, April 3, 2017

How to Make Real English Beer Shandy

Summer is on the way again, and this week-end I got to thinking of nice cold refreshing drinks.

My favorite is a English Beer Shandy.

So as part of the low vision Kitchen series I created this short video on how to make a good old English Beer Shandy.

All you need are two ingredients, a good beer and either Lemonade in EnBritain, or Sprite or 7-UP in the US.  Then you can recreate this delicious light refreshing drink for a Summer afternoon party or barbecue.

Watch the video here:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


A visit to my eye doctor the other day did not bring good news.

a close up of an eye.
An Eye
I had hoped that some of the greyness I had noticed in my good eye over recent months had been due mainly to weather conditions. Lots of cloudy days with diffused light.

When I say good eye by the way, I do not mean that the eye is very good it is just better than my left eye which now barely has any light perception.  My right eye I had some useful vision to my right periphery, now that is shrinking.

I was noticing that diffused light was making my vision very foggy and I was losing most of what color vision I had.

My retinologist took a look at the eye and pronounced that there is a quite decent cataract in the right eye.

The diffusing of what vision I have is the edge of the cataract moving across my field of vision. In her opinion though there is little point in removing the cataract.

The reason for this is removing the cataract and replacing it with a new artificial lens will not help me because the field of useful vision in the eye is too small for the eye to recover any sight.

Removing the damaged lens and the cataract will make me blind, leaving the cataract will at least allow me light perception with some diffused vision rather than light perception only.

I have to admit that is a scary time. Knowing that there is little left to do in order to save my sight is a pretty tough pill to swallow. I am going to look at a second opinion from my other eye doctor over the next few weeks. Just incase there is a work around.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 WAVE Award

Last Friday, March 10, was a pretty exciting day. I attended the final day of the Western Media Access Conference. Learned lots of stuff especially about social media.

William Elliott, smiling holds the certificate recognizing 'Blindside Fresno' as a finalist and runner up in the WAVE awards 2017.
William Elliott after receiving Runner-up Award Certificate
Later that evening was the Western Access Video Excellence (WAVE) Award ceremony. The event was televised by CMAC the local media access group that I have been a member of for over one year now.

'Blindside Fresno' was a finalist in the very first category of programs, a non professional producer of disability awareness programming.  Non-professional meaning that I as the producer do not earn my living as a television producer.

There were three finalists, myself, a production from La Velle University in Los Angeles and a program produced by a local High School here in Fresno also nominated by CMAC.

Things  went by so quickly, I hardly heard my name mentioned as the nominees were named, than the winner was up on stage giving his thanks. The program from La Velle had won.

Their program covered the life of a quadraplegic, who has raised thousands of dollars for others like himself injured in car accidents.

In all there were forty-one categories and all had to be announced in a little under ninety minutes. There were not really any long speeches. Thank you's were the main order of the evening and it was a very enjoyable experience.

At the end of the evening those of us who had been selected as finalists were awarded our runner-up certificates.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Visiting a Trade Show and Conference

I have spent the past two days visiting the ACM West Region Conference and Trade Show here in my home town of Fresno, California.
The studio of Blindside Fresno, the host and guest silohuetted against a light blue background, in the foreground the silohuette of a camera and the floor director in headphones talks to the control room crew.
In the Studio For Blindside Fresno

The show is for access media providers, and it has been great fun to get out and about in new company for a few days.

Today will see the last day of the conference and also the presentation of the WAVE Awards. Blindside Fresno is up for one of the awards tonigh so wish me luck there.

In the past I have only visited on conference, as a delegate for my local chapter of California Council of the Blind.

This conference is very different, apart from the constant bumping into other conference goers, and the walk by sniffings of guide dogs especially around the buffet tables.

This conference is so much more relaxed and therefore fun. I am guessing this is for my part because at the CCB conference I was a newbie delegate. I didn't know what the hell I was doing there, I had a shopping list of must do items to report on which meant I was on duty from 6am  until bedtime at 2am. Here I will only have spent about twenty-six hours on duty at the conference over the three days. Much easier. Plus the conference is here in the city where I live so at night I am coming home to my own bed. Much nicer than even the best hotel.

Leif my guide dog is really enjoying the work. He has a spring in his step that has been lacking in recent months. I know he gets bored with regular routes and though he does perk up when people stop us to ask questions, these interactions are not as stimulating for him as working a room of moving people and the hope of getting that piece of roast beef off the floor under the buffet table.

Some of the most exciting talk at the conference has been about sharing of programming. From my point of view as a producer this is great news. I create programs to be seen by a wide audience. Though my program is titled for a specific locality, I think 'Blindside Fresno' has lots of universal interest for people who want to know about blindness, technology, and also the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

So today the conference closes. The awards will be awarded and what will I take away from it all? A great experience. Everyone should take in a conference or two in their lives. It is just fun to meet people who share ideas. Not just ideas that you have opinions on. But ideas that expand your horizons. Ideas that make you question possibilities. Ideas that encourage new ways of thinking.

Wish me luck for the WAVE awards tonight.

Thank you.