Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Watch Where You Are Going!

While Hurricane (Tropical Storm)  Harvey has been pummeling Houston and the Texas-Louisianna Gulf Coast, we here in the central valley of California have been having our own little weather drama.

A fountain sprouts into the air within a paved area. Around the paved area are tall trees and bushes. Some buildings can also be seen in the trees.
Fountains at Fresno City College

Normally here the temperatures are falling slowly from the upper 90's towards the mid 90's. We all usually breathe a sigh of relief at the chance to breathe some of the air again without feeling our lungs shrivel and dry at each breath. Not this year as the last week of August has come, temperatures have soared into the 109 degree Fahrenheit realm.

IRecently I enrolled at Fresno City College,  I am taking a Creative Writing class, just two mornings a week but this means that I am out from before seven in the morning until past noon.

The heat of the middle of the day is  a major problem for Leif my Guide Dog (Follow him on Facebook)

Temperatures over 90 degrees mean a sidewalk can be over 120 degrees. So to prevent burned paws, I have been leaving Leif at home, cool and safe in the air conditioning.

For me it is back to the cane for at least the next week. High temperatures are still in the forecast for the first week of September.

It is amazing how many people  notice that Leif is not by my side. My English teacher for instance  has hardly had time to be able to put a name to most of the class members, but on my arrival in class with a cane wanted to know where Leif was, was he ok? Then was much relieved that it was only as a precaution, to save Leif from injury from hot sidewalks that he was missing.

On the other hand I also got to meet the "I am busy texting as I walk kid".  White canes are like a magnet for this person. Head down, usually male but that is not always so, he marches around. Blind to the world around him until he suddenly finds himself astride my cane, nose heading towards the sidewalk. Most times just a quick stumble on his part. He will then turn and spout the immortal line

"Look the F@#$ where you are ..."

His voice may trail off but you get the idea. I the blind guy should look where I am going, sorry chum, that is why I use a cane, or dog, to look where I am going and to tell YOU that I cannot see where I am going.

I actually love them. In my head I tick a little box, call it ten points. One hundred points or whatever for satisfaction before moving on.

I must say though, I miss taking my dog along. A cane is ok, but you cannot talk to your cane.

Well you can, but I don't advise it. People think you are crazy.


The ten day weather forecast gives little respite from the heat, so I could be leaving Leif at home for a couple of weeks. No fun for either of us really.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Behind the Scenes in the Studio

Recently I recorded a short Facebook Live video of our preparations in the studio  on the day of recording an episode of 'Blindside Fresno.'

Preparing for a recording is not as hectic as you might imagine. Everyone has a job, most of the crew have seen this all before and so quietly go about their business preparing the show.

The video begins in the studio as Darcie, the hostess and guest are doing audio checks.  Today's guest was Lisa Presley-Thomas, you can also see her interview on YouTube by following the link below.

Then after looking around the studio, we move to the Control Room where all the electronic wizardry goes on and where the program is actually recorded.

So take a look behind the scenes on a typical recording of 'Blindside Fresno.'



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blindside Fresno: Having Blind Parents Helped Me

Recently we recorded a new edition of 'Blindside Fresno'. This program was an interview with Lisa Presley-Thomas, Lisa is a leading member of Fresno CCB (California Council of the Blind).

Crew of Blindside Fresno  standing  Left John Perez, William Elliott,  Alvin Arizaga, seated Left Lisa Presley-Thomas Darcie Elliott, laying on floor at front Leif the guide dog.
Lisa Presley-Thomas (Seated Left) and the Crew of Blindside Fresno
 of blind parents so has seen first hand the reaction of members of the sighted community to blind people.

Would you be shocked to see a five year old girl opening a purse to write a check for the weeks groceries?

Many people were shocked at such an event, but it did not phase Lisa, for her it was normal, a matter of fact just one of those tasks that a child might be called upon to do.

Lisa talks frankly about her life as a child of blind parents and also casts a light on the world of the blind from a different viewpoint, that of a sighted person for whom blindness is not a strange and fearful disability, but a merely different way of seeing the world.

Take a look at this fascinating interview by following the link below:



Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer's Long Lease

Hello again everyone. It's been a while  since my last post on this blog.

Way back before Summer's long lease had run. Now as the days draw in my mind can look back over a Summer of travel.
Stars and Stripes flag waves over Williams Arizona
Star and Stripes flying over Williams Arizona


My wife and I, along with my guide dog Leif took a roadtrip across two thirds  of the United States, a journey of over 6,000 miles across fifteen stsates, crossed the mighty Mississippi river into Wisconsin and Illinois. Visited many members of my wife's family whom I had never met in Iowa, saw giant statues, lookeed into big holes in the ground at the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater. Gawped open mouthed at giant statues on the Dakota plains and marvelled at Mount Rushmore. Walked in the footseps of pioneers and cowboys. Were amazed at the vastness of the Great Salt Lake and Boneville Salt flats and walked on snow  in the high Sierras of California in July.



Every American should take a trip like this one. If only to get a measure of the size of this country. As we travelled we had only one ground rule which we never broke. Never eat at a place where we could eat at when we got home. So no McDonalds, No Burger King no Taco Bell or Applebees. So as we travelled we ate New Mexican flavors in New Mexico, German food in St. Joseph Missouri. Also amazing Wisconsin fried cheese curds. I ask you what is not to like about fried cheese. YUM!

At the California and Oregon Trail Museum in Montpelier Idaho we got a personally guided tour of the museum by a group of docents. It was a quiet day and they had time to describe items for me as we walked around the galleries. Then we took a simulated journey on their wagon train reconstructing the journey from Independence Missouri to Montpelier arriving on the very same spot where thousands of pioneers had arrived in the days of wagon trains and prarie schooners.

Over the next few weeks I plan to include more posts about the trip. But for now I will just say it was a nice road trip but it is even nicer to be home.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Where Is 'Blindside Fresno?"

You may be wondering what has happened to "Blindside Fresno". Well we have been off the air since February for a couple of reasons.

William Elliott, producer of Blindside Fresno behind the camera in the television studio during a recording
Behind the scenes at 'Blindside Fresno'
First, we had some problems arranging guest interviews. Our guests were in such demand that we had to cancel several recordings.

Also we planned some interviews with local puppy raisers for guide dogs for the blind. Well their puppies were coming towards the end of their training and were recalled to finish their training at the Guide Dogs for the Blind facility.

Add to this a busy end to the school year for our host and it was just a lot of balls to juggle in order to get the programs ready.

Well this next few days will see us back in the studio again to record some new programs.

We will be trying a new idea in this series, instead of a traditional interview we will include some sketches showing common frustrations of blind people.  So for instance the "Good Samaritan" who insists on helping, whther you need help or not. The person who thinks that blindness is a form of deafness and so shouts at you loudly and very S L O W L Y.

Our local puppy raisers also have some new puppies in training so we will take a look at the work of puppy raisers. These people are unsung heroes for me. Giving their time and love to our guide dogs in their most formative months.

We will also look at parenting by blind or low vision parents from the point of children. We have some interviews with adult children of families where at least one parent was blind or visually impaired. That promises to be an interesting program to compliment our interviews with blind moms shown in the last series.

All our programs from series one are still available on You Tube



You can also follow us on Facebook Blindside Fresno on Facebook

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