Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year and a Complete Plan

The New Year is always a time for resolutions.
Today I got to thinking of next year. As you may know I have recently begun a Master's degree.  My first resolution for next year was to plan out my courses. I need to take 9 more.

This morning was spent planning out what classes I have organized to take so far and then what classes I need to take to complete. I have now completed the plan and scheduled my time for the next fourteen months.

Yes, it will take fourteen months of formal classes at least to finish all classes, my scheduled final class is a thesis class which runs for two months December 2012 to February 2, 2013. I then have up to one year to complete my final thesis paper.

It seems a long time, but experience tells me that it will fly by. It does include three rest months, March, July and November. These are months when no really interesting classes appeared or where I have planned other things. For instance July is my wife's birthday so may do something that month.

Taking classes is all about planning really, a little like running a Marathon. Pacing is important, sprinting the first few hundred yards does no good but sprinting the last fifty yards can win you the race.

National University doesn't leave much pause between normal classes. As one ends on Saturday the next begins Monday. That is the reason for my choosing three months of work with a one month break.  Even those breaks are filled with work, I have to scan books, begin some readings, and look for ideas for each classes final paper.

My experience last month showed holes in my time management, mostly due to underestimating reading times. A twenty page chapter could take an hour, but some chapters were sixty pages long and I only allowed ten hours to read three or four chapters. Not enough. So long nights ensued as I posted late into the evening.

The next class begins January 9, 2012. Modern China. I am really looking forward to that. Loved the class in my Bachelors class.

Among my other classes are US history, Modern Middle East, Modern Africa  and Modern Europe. Also there are three theory classes on historiography (how and why history is written as it is, theories and ideas of historians from Ancient Greece to today.) then research and planning completed by the Thesis class that I mentioned earlier.

So with New Year almost here, at least I have one New Year's Resolution fulfilled. It feels good to have that done. Now to plan on losing weigght and saving more money.  The perennial broken promises to myself which rarely pass muster by mid January.

That is probably it for 2011. 

Happy New Year Everyone. All the best and Prosperity to you all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Intel Reader Tip

While using my Intel Reader the other day I was scanning a rather thick book for my upcoming Modern China class.

At over 600 pages the book wouldn't lay flat on my scanning stand. This led to the left hand side page having a lot of distortions in the analysed text.

To cut down on this problem I placed four or five thin paperback books between the front cover of the book and the bed of the scanner stand. This made the book relatively flat for my Intel Reader to see the pages.

It worked really well. There were then very few distortions and missed readings of the text.

Another tip: Scanning appears to take about 10% of battery power for every twenty pages of text. Scan individual chapters in a book and allow the reader to process each one before proceeding to the next. This makes the process much faster than scanning several chapters at once, plus it makes finding particular chapters easier to find if they are saved as individual stored data files.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone

The presents are ordered and being tracked on UPS, FedEx and USPS, though that tracking number doesn't work. So all that is left to do is sit and wait.

I finished my first class towards my Master's degree this week. Four weeks of scanning, reading my Kindle (having it read to me more like) writing papers (My final paper was on the history of the coffee house in the Islamic world and England up until the beginning of the Eighteenth Century) anyway with half the grades marked so far it looks good, an "A".

My home is bare this year, can you believe I forgot to get a Christmas Tree!

The time for looking back over the year is passing. A good finish to my Bachelors degree, a try at a new job failed, the death of  an old friend. Starting my next step towards a better education. For next Year? More school, It looks good to complete my Master's almost a year earlier than planned. If I do one class per month and break in March and July I can finish formal classes in November. The break in March and July are for vacations.

I would love to visit the Perogi Festival in Whiting/Hammond, Indiana my wife's family are Polish and are amazed that I might want to try a perogi, don't know why. I come from the land that gave the world the Cornish Pasty, a perogi by any other name would taste as good! :)

Failing Indiana, maybe Washington and Canada may be an alternate. Having a US passport these days would make the travel to the country up North much easier than in the past with my reams of Resident papers. Plus I have never been to Canada. Plus a visit to Washington State would mean revisiting Seattle, a very pretty city. I also would have to go and pay homage to the first Starbucks. I missed it though I visited Pike's Place Market in 2002, just hadn't heard of Starbuck's in those days.

As a final word, Merry Christmas everyone. Thank you for your support reading my posts over the past few months. All the best for the New Year to you all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

We are almost there. Christmas! But there is a fly in my ointment. I have not bought one present as yet, with only one week to go! HELP!

No this is not a plea for money, the help request is purely rhetorical and an expression of frustration.

This will be the first Christmas for years where I was not prepared by the end of August, presents bought or planned, cards at the ready and my own list for Santa e-mailed to the North Pole, ok exaggeration there. :)

This year my first one as severely visually impaired I have succombed to my wife's "It'll get done." Philosophy.

Living in a small town with few stores, Christmas shopping means either going online or going to a big town. Online I am wary of these days after having a credit card wiped out buying from a small store on the East Coast, I got what I wanted, a nice coin set, someone at that online store got what they wanted, $1,500 of Macy's store credit on my credit card! So for me gift shopping went to Amazon or Barnes and Noble long ago.

The problem is you have to really know what you are looking to buy, I do anyway, sometimes that instant rush of Perfect Gift only came with browsing a store. Now can I go to a store? Not easily without my wife. She has to drive afterall.

She is also not one to let me browse in peace, not that I can do that much anyway, Excuse me am I in PetSmart or Victoria's Secret?

How on earth do you buy someone a surprise gift if you cannot have some private time to just do what needs to be done. That is my frustration. So am I doomed to point my mouse to Amazon this year. Is my wife to get a cook book? Hey doesn't Victoria's Secret have a nice website?

Where's my delete history button gone?   :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My stupid smart phone

Well I did it!

I went out and got a new phone, quite nice, smart phone with android operating system. I can download all sorts of fantastic apps, my phone will even tell me what the weather is like outside the window without me having to strain my neck to look out the window.

One of the great setting features the sales assistant was willing to show me was that I could even send text messages by talking into the telephone.  WOW!  Whatever next!  DoYou  mean that I can just talk into this thing and send the message ?


 Well Someon was born yesterday,

 The phone was free because I signed a two-year contract.   All set-up I went home and charged the battery overnight and the next day I attempted to send a text.

 The smartphone buttons on the screen are small and my fingers are large. So  I attempted
to press the  button which I can hardly see anyway. I pressed  several  others which I  hadn't intended.

 there is a solution it turns out turn the phone onto its side which  did make the screen expand and the buttons larger.

 So I get To be able to press the right button.  Now I speak into the microphone and  send a meaningful  message to my wife  I say, "A new day in history has dawned. I can text again . "

 The Message she received was a little different, " You redneck, back texting now." I think smartphones have long way to go before I will not see them as being  dumb, dumb, dumb.

If you get some weird text message it may be just a poor fool like me who believed the sales hype and got themselves a dumb smartphone.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dragon NaturallySpeaking: the speech recognition software for your computer

Recently you may have seen commercials on TV for Dragon Naturally Speaking Software.

I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 11.5  myself. I have used Dragon on and off  for several years now . Version 11.5 is  far better than the early versions which I used in college five or so years ago to help me write my papers for my   Associate of Arts degree . in those days I used to spend most of my time correcting it's many mistakes.

Today I'm using the latest version to help me work on my Masters degree in history . Dragon NaturallySpeaking works very well and my typing speed has risen from about 250 words  per hour to about 1000 words per  hour.  Dragon does need some learning time , it is estimated it takes about three months for Dragon to learn your individual speech  patterns but the more you use Dragon the faster the system can update and learn how you normally speak .

This whole article has been written  using Dragon NaturallySpeaking and it took me about 5 min. to Complete.

 Dragon NaturallySpeaking is actually one of the few items which I, today, would say I cannot do without . I can use it to write my papers, surf the internet write e-mail and also make notes for my classes.


The latest versions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking come in several language variations including Spanish.  There are alsoseveral levels of complexity from the home use edition to student and professional editions. 

 Prices vary from $79 upwards for the basic level to about $400 for professional levels of the software.

 If you Use your computer  often then investing in Dragon NaturallySpeaking software may be something worth considering.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blindness: There's an app for that!

A few days agoI went shopping for a new phone. It was hard to tell which phone would be the best with all the choices between iPhones, android, and the multitude of phones ranging from basic to the latest multifunction gameplaying, texting, web browsing, communication devices now crowd the shelves of Best Buy and a multitude of other retail outlets.

The sales assistants was quick to help, I explained to her that I was looking for an upgrade of m current phone which I have been using for about two years now. My presence contract with AT&T has expired and I aooking to have a phone which I can use for normal voice calls, texting and one which may be available with some speech to tacilities and preferably one which I can see with my failing eyesight.

She called over several of her colleagues and they all  gathere eagerly  in order to share
.their idea as to which phone would be most suitable . fo Fme.. . I was surprised in genera. al Aof them. su Sested phones. ot Or than the. la Lst iPhone..

 I looked at one sales assistants with my best incredulous look as he sahe"  Oh blind! I think this phone has an app  for that."

 I can Hardly imagine a company producing an app for blindness. 

  Actually,  what he had really meant to say was that the phone he was suggesting for me had which enlarged any text on the screen and had the ability to download software to enable speech to text.

For  me the best thing about  the phone he was suggesting was not just that it could be used by me quite easily ,but that it was available for free.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Intel Reader Review

I bought my Intel Reader in early September 2011.

The Reader measures about 6x4x1 inches and weighs about a couple of pounds. It contains a high quality camera and text to speech software.
The Reader comes with a carrying case which allows you to use the reader from within the case. There are openings for you to reach the neccessary buttons and which allows the camera to see the text that you require to read. This case means no worrying about having to extract the Reader from the case each time you want to use it.

The Reader is simple to use. Just click the large shoot button on the top right corner and it scans the text. The Reader then needs about thirty seconds to scan and interpret the trxt on a simple page, books can take one or two minutes but you can scan several pages of text and read already scanned text as the very powerful processor works on completing its scan.

There are some areas which I think will need to improve in later versions, but which don't really detract from this product.

1. The Reader can only read text in forms such as Times New Roman, Vereena and Calibri fonts. Italic fonts or the many artistic fonts are not read by the Reader in intelligible forms. Neither is handwritten forms, letters which you might want to use.

2.  The power supply for charging requires an earthed power outlet. In my house we have only four of these, three in the kitchen and one in my office. It is therefore difficult to recharge if my wife is cooking and I am on my desktop computer.  Recharge is quite raapid however, mine has recharged in a little over three hours.

3. If you attempt to scan large amounts of text and there is a problem with the scan, it is difficult to go back and fill in the failed scan. For this purpose I would reccommend only scanning small pieces of text at anyone time.

I really do like the Intel Reader though, it has some quirks, as does any technology, the speech is clear but does come easier to understand with practice.

I would say it was well worth the almost $1,000 which I paid for the Reader alone.

To read a review of the Kindle Touch e-reader Click here

Disclosure: I have no financial interest in Intel nor any suppliers of this item. I will not receive any payment or commission for this article, and have not been requested to write any product review by any corporation or company . This article is purely for the purpose of sharing information for you to to use in decision making if you should buy this product.
Links are provided from this document only to allow access to images and no suggestion is made that you should buy from any particular supplier. No endorsement should be seen as explicit or implied.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Going for the Masters Degree

We are in the final week off preparations for beginning my Masters Degree in History with National University.

I have prepared my books with my Intel Reader, the text to speech scanner which I piurchased several weeks ago.

It is a great little device. It has coped pretty well with some hefty textbooks for my first class which begins next Monday, 11/21/11.

My first class will be World History. It looks interesting as a subject. From the textbooks there appears to be a great deal of recent social history. Matters such as industrialization and migrations. With just four weeks, there is a lot of work to do. I am glad that some accommodations were made available, extra time on timed exams is always nice, also some time extension was granted on papers if needed.

I will add that I have rarely need to call in accommodations in the past. With help from readers/typists in exams in the past I usually completed exams in the minimum time. I only needed one extension on a paper deadline with my BA History, and that was because I was in hospital with Valley Fever, a nasty fungal lung infection, not because of my blindness.

In that case I made a bet with my teacher, if she allowed me to stay in class, I would finish on time. Provided she allowed me to get out of hospital to complete my assignment. As I have always found, high level teachers are wonderfully supportive if you are honest with them. She gave me a grace period to complete the paper and I caught up with the class and finished on time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

With Sadness

I don't know what it is. Maybe it is getting to be fifty, just a few weeks ago.

My AARP card now has it's own place in my wallet.

It may be the ticking of the clock, this seems to be the time of losing friends.

A few years ago, I met someone whom I felt was special. This was before I met the woman who was to become my wife. We had been close friends but it was always more friendship than romance for her part. For me I had hoped for more, I will admit that. But it is always the woman who really chooses. So we went our seperate ways. Keeping in touch until I married.

I still had some contact from another mutual friend. Monday I heard that our friend had died.

I have been no real stranger to death. My father died when I was a child, mygrandparents had died in their time and my mother several years ago. Other friends too have died, in accident and war.

This is the first death of someone however that I had imagined sharing my life with. It has come as more a shock than anyother.

Going blind is not as bad as the pain of mourning someone special. 

It brings me to think how special my wife really is. How much I should treasure her friendship. Afterall, she suffers from my blindness too. She guides me, lifts me up when I fall low in spirits. Puts up with me one my worst days, laughs at my awful jokes.

I can no longer think of maybe writing an occasional e-mail to my late friend. But I can hold my wife close and dear for one minute more.

Thank the Lord for all we have ever held dear in our hearts.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Always Amazed with Lucentis

I don't think that I will ever cease to be amazed by the speed of my improved vision following a Lucentis injection.

At 2pm last Friday I went to my eye doctor, my vision was so poor that I could not see the technician's hand as she brought her fingers to my face. The only indication that her hand was there was that I could no longer see the fuzzy glow of light.

I had missed my original planned injection two weeks ago, because of a change in insurance there was some dispute as to whether the new insurance company would pay for any treatment.

By Friday last week, the swelling behind the retina was so bad that I could not ignore it any longer. Luckily the insurance company relented and agreed to pay for the now emergency treatment.

The OCT scan supported the fact that my central retinal vein occlusion (crvo) swelling was back. My doctor decided Lucentis was the treatment to use.

I was injected at about 2:30pm and as usual my doctor was very quick and almost caused me no pain. There is always a little, but she minimizes pain with her firm and decisive action as opposed to those doctors who like to play about for twenty minutes, trying to put themselves in the mood to inject.

One the way home after a qiock sandwiche at Marie Callendars, I noticed that I could now see the rear view mirror in the car and after a while, the dark looming shapes of trees at the side of the road.

The loss of sight which had taken about a week to take full effect was receeding. Within three hours of the injection, I was begining to see some of the world about me again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Master's Degree. Progress So Far.

After four months research, asking schools, my former professors, friends and school advisors. I have settled on a school and a degree programme to take my Master of Arts degree in History.

As the hope is to gain the degree in order to possibly teach in Community College, I placed a lot of weight on the advice of the professors at my Alma Mater community college, their advice for me was to go with National University.

Other people agreed that the university was more well known in this region of California and as they offered a full Master of Arts degree in History online, National seemed a long way ahead of the competition.

There was some delay as I talked to them regarding the course. They were uncertain as to my being able to cope with the pace of their course. They move very quickly, four weeks per class and the whole degree could be completed in just ten months.

I admit that pace may be too quick for me, but they do allow a one month break between classes. This would be a perfect opportunity for me to read ahead on textbooks, and prepare for the next class.

The new Intel Reader which I purchased a few weeks ago will help me have access to the texts. It does take time however to process a book, but with four weeks I can see that being possible.

As things stand I am now set for classes to begin on January 9, 2012. I could have begun classes as early as next week, but with Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays coming up I thought it best to concentrate on those, and making preparations to study at a slightly more relaxed pace.

My proposed timetable gives me an end to classes in about September 2013 and with submission of a thesis in early 2014 graduation in about the same time as a traditional Master's course timeline.

That is of course with the expectancy that the History Channel with all it's Nostradamus and Mayan Calendar prophecies forecasting the end of the world on 12/21/2012 is completely wrong. If it isn't and the world does end, it has the benefit that I get part way through an interesting course and won't have to repay a student loan for doing so!. :(

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What is it Like to Go Blind?

Today I saw a new article on Yahoo! Contributor Network.  The article "What is it Like to Go Blind? was interesting and there are many links to similar articles. They come in the form of personal experiences to creative writing articles.

These can be a very interesting resource as to blindness and its causes, implications and solutions.

To read the article Click HERE!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is there a Master's Degree in the Future?

After some seriously hard thinking, boredom and number crunching. It seems that I could try for a Master's Degree.

My choice is to try to take a Master of Arts Degree in History with National University.

The course would be online. This allows me not to worry about travelling several hundred miles per month to in seat classes at the nearest campus.

It appears that I could take alternate sessions off.

Classes run for four weeks and it is possible to complete a Masters Degree within one year. This is a bit of a gamble with my vision deterriorating as it is, so I am planning to take one class, break for four weeks when I can read ahead , preparing textbooks with my Intel Reader, create MP3 files and such, ready for the next months work.

The course is 10 classes long so I am estimating if I begin in January 2012, that I will complete my Master's in September 2013. Not much shorter than a traditional Master's but in this area, National has a a good and well known reputation.

We will see what happens.

National University Website   HERE!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Life Grows Ever More Blurred

For about a month now, my vision has continued to decrease noticebly.

In fact my vision has gone to the point where I can no longer see the screen to write my posts. I meremy now listen to my screen reader as I type. Just hoping that I am writing something that is readable.

Maybe I should consider going over to a spoken blog?  Well then you have a real problem, no matter how bad my typing, you can perhaps make out my general meaning, when I speak then you have to contend with my thick Northern English accent.

Yesterday I was told I need to just ignore my blindness. Ignore it? How? It is not a pimple on the tip of my nose, red and shiny for the world to see and ignore. I open my eyes in the morning and there it is, a thick, bright dense fog that I cannot escape.

Funny thing is, now even with my eyes closed I can still see light. I woke at about 4am the other morning. The room seemed full of a light so bright that I was dazzled. The real fact was my eyes were closed and  the room was in absolute darkness, I had not left a light on to wake me.

I wish, I wish , I wish. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pay It Back

One thing I like about living in the United States is the attitude that paying back to your community or any community is a good thing.

Volunteering for work which benefits society is not considered something strange. For myself I like to help tutor students. It is fun and a wonderful way to use the knowledge which I gained while gaining my degree. While at Community College I took a course in tutoring and the various methods of helping students learn. At the time I used the cash which I earned to pay for my studies and offset the cost of textbooks.

Having graduated I missed the interaction with students and so went back to tutor voluntarily at my alma mater and also to help adult Spanish speakers to improve their English language skills at my local library.

From my experience of going blind I have seen my self esteem suffer at times. It is easy to let ones disability become ones sole preoccupation. One says how one cannot do something because I am blind.

The truth is doing something for and with others does you good.
It need not be something like tutoring, you may have skills in any area. Joining in is the main thing and if it is something which pays back to society in general that is no bad thing.

Consider what you can do for others and pay it back, with a good heart, show people that the disabled can do something that sets an example to others.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Intel Reader

Well, I have just put in an order for an Intel Reader. Given that it is Labor Day and such I don't really expect the clock to start ticking as to dispatch and delivery. The company promise an approximate 2 day dispatch so we'll be looking at Thursday, for that.

I also opted for UPS ground delivery, at over $50 for two day and $190 for overnight, I reckon I waited a few months for this item I can wait a week or so for ground delivery.

If I had been in more of a hurry then the additional cost may have been reasonable.

I also ordered an additional battery for the reader and the reader station to enable capturing of larger volumes of documents. 

Still with all the additional items the reader is coming in at just a shade under $1,400.

Saving me about $100 on most of the competition.

I will keep you updated as to the customer service of the supplier and also my learning experience and feelings about the reader itself when it arrives.
Obviously at the moment I am not a little nervous as to the cost and whether this reader can live up to expectations. My hopes are very high but I have made mistakes in the past too.

I have no connection with the manufacturers of the Intel Reader nor the supplying company. This is not a paid review, nor am I receiving any product in exchange foor a review.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What is it with sighted people?

I don't know what it is. Whether they think they are being comforting or something. But at times sighted people seem to jump with both feet in their mouths and sound condescending and simplistic.

Today as I was leaving church, someone came up to me and started talking about things in general, asked me how things were going. Then put both feet in their mouth.
"I am sure if you pray, God will give you back your sight in heaven."

What! If I pray hard enough God will reward me in Heaven. Do they think, I do not pray enough, has God singled me out for some grievous sin that needs to be punished with blindness. Yes I am sure God has better things to do than punish me so much because He really does love me.

It so angers me that people can be so thoughtless. Plus having sat for an hour listening to a sermon which preached God's love for everyone and how He cares for everyone. Should we add a codecil saying God loves everyone, except the person in that wheelchair, the blind guy three rows back. Oh yes let's make sure we shout so the deaf bass guitarist can hear he is excluded too.

I am perfectly willing to accept that God might have sent me a challenge of blindness in order to make me stronger. You know I can live with that. But to say that God singles out people for punishment because they don't pray often enough or that they need to think of reward in heaven is to my mind ridiculous.

It is un-Christian to make such claims and to be honest I feel it insults my intelligence.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Intel Reader Assistive Technology for Dyslexia, Low Vision and Blindness

A week or so ago, I was suffering insomnia and was up at four am and turned on CNN.

I was interested to see a nice looking gadget, developed by a Dyslexic Law Graduate. I was impressed by the look and function of the machine.

Basically a portable computer, looking about the same size as a first generation Kindle Reader. You photograph any text with a built in camera, the computer then generates a speech file which it uses to read that text.

The real bonus for me looks like it comes in at less than $1,000 for the basic unit. That is around $500 less than the competition, many of which are not portable, but tied to a desktop computer. Many of the items such as stands for copying large amounts of text such as in books are available for additional charges and so it is expandable to quite a large system, which will make it comparable in cost to those other computer/desk top systems in cost and function.

An interesting feature for me was that it can save speech files to MP3 files so it will store textbooks or any kind of book to an iPod, or MP3 player for easy listening later.

I am seriously looking at purchasing the product. As I am about to embark on a Masters degree, so I can see it getting a lot of use.

I do not currently own this product, nor do I endorse it. I have not received payment nor do I have any connection to the product manufacturer or its supplier linked here.

I will write a fuller review of the product after I have purchased it. This post is for information and is not an endorsement of the product nor the supplier company.

Intel Reader Assistive Technology for Dyslexia, Low Vision and Blindness

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Faith on Bad Days

There are days when I question my blindness. I ask the usual questions, "Why me?" "Is there a reason for me going blind?"

Of course I have no real answer to any of my questions. I cannot say God has singled me out for a special purpose, there is no exceptional evil in my life. I try to remain positive, do what I can and work on keeping myself held together in times which are frustrating, emotionally trying and very, very lonely.

Today I heard a sermon which in part clicked in my brain. It was on the question of love and our relationship with God.

The Pastor spoke of God's love being supportive. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He gives us a trial and provides the support for that trial.

It brought to mind the words of Mother Theresa of Calcutta many years ago. She was asked what made her remain faithful. She said that she needed God's love and support everyday of her life, she knew God would never let her down, but then added "But, I wish God sometimes had a little less faith in me."

It is a curious thought, the trials we face are trials of our faith, ability, they test our will and they make us stronger. But in the end God knows not to break us, hHe only tests us to bring about our love and strengthen our faith.

This is a little off my usual writing and if anyone is offended, I apologise, but in the end. I want to share that I accept the fact that my blindness mayy be a trial of me as a person, my faith and my ability to love. I will trust that God in His infinite wisdom will not break me. That I am to use the opportunities He gives me to make me stronger.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Going Out

Going out for any form of entertainment can be a challenge when you are blind. You have to face crowds, deal with low light levels in many restaurants and going to the cinema is not much fun if you can't even see the normal picture and then film makers want to charge you up to 50 % more to watch a 3-D film which you can't even see.
Before the audience arrives, the cinema is quiet, the curtains over the screen are uplit and outside the corn is popping Take your seats the show is about to start.
An Empty Cinema.  Seats ready, curtains lit, ready the movie.

Last weekend my wife and I went to a cinema in Fresno, a Regal Cinema, I won't say which just to ease possible repurcussions as I am sure people will flock there after this story. .  We were surprised when the young woman in the ticket office said the show was free.

My wife was shocked, at first I thought maybe our Regal Card had won a prize, But no, I believe the manager allowed us in to the movie as his guests.

The act was so unexpected and to my mind very generous. I am not often surprised by much but this act was so much more than was neccessary. I do love going to the cinema anyway. Often I have to ask my wife what is happening but sometimes I can make out through the grey blurr of light what I need to follow the story.

I would like to say, being the guest of the manager was a great honor.

The Regal Cinema group are great cinema's to watch movies. I would recommend that everyone who goes to the cinema regularly gets a Regal Card, you then become elligible for free popcorn, drinks and movies tickets, I averahe a free gift every three visits to the cinema.

But the action of this one manager did a great deal to fix my loyalty to the Regal brand.  Thank you for your kindness, thank you to your staff for all the good times I have had visiting your cinema.

I have no connection to Regal Cinema's. I have not received payment for this endorsement, I expect no remuneration nor financial gain from this post.

You may purchase cinema gift cards from this; my amazon affilliate link to help support my blog.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Share a Laugh: How a Small Cat Made My Day Brighter.

A blow by blow re-enactment (using a Stunt Cat) of an encounter with a visious and playful kitten.

Some weeks ago I was having a bad morning and had not even got into work at 8am.

My day was made so much brighter with an encounter with a small cat as I walked to my office.

To read the story click on this link Share a Laugh: How a Small Cat Made My Day Brighter.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What is Blindness?

Today I found this article in my newsfeed.  It was posted in the Nigerian Tribune on August 6th 2011. (The date difference is due to time zones, it was August 6th in Nigeria though still August 5th in California.

It is an excellent example as to the description of blindness.

I can see (metaphorically) how people misunderstand what blindness is. The general description is that blindness isa inability to detect the presence of light or dark.  All other forms are actually visual impairment to some degree.

The confusion comes when people are declared legally blind. Currently legal blindness is 20/200, That is the person tested cannot see or identify objects seen by a normally sighted person at 200 feet.

I have a visual accuity of 20/1500 so am legally blind but am able to detect light so an not clinically blind.

The article linked below gives excellent examples as to what it means to be both blind or visually impaired.

Read The Article CLick Here!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Had a Lucentis Injection 10 hours Ago

Went to see my retinologist this morning. The tests were excellent, but my report of blurring vision was a concern for her.

She is a very good doctor, and after examination and consultation she decided to offer me an injection of Lucentis.

As usual the shot was given quickly. This time there was a little pain afterwards. It has not affected me so much since having the glaucoma implant to prevent a build up of eye pressure. Today was an exception for about five minutes, then all was ok.

Now it is about ten hours after the injection. I can see the letters on my normal keyboard, that is better than this morning. I am also less sensitive to the light.

I must admit at times this cycling is frustrating, sometimes I wish to be all one way or the other. Of course to be totally blind is not a real wish, just more stable in this region would be nice if I can't have full vision.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Today is not good.

for a couple of days now my sensitivity to light has been increasing.

Today I had planned as a full day of research and writing, but I find my vision an almost total white-out.

As it seems this is the end of my latest Lucentis injection. I was given Lucentis almost five weeks ago now. I have an appointment with my retinologist on Tuesday, we were hoping the overlap of my last two injections would mean my vision would not decline as it usially does after a few weeks.

I am just guessing that this sensitivity and severe blurring is just the regular return of swelling behind the retina. It is how it usually manifests itself, but there is always the worry that it may be another central retinal vein oclusion. (CRVO).

As with all aspects of this form of blindness there is often a waiting period. I might call the doctor tomorrow for an emergency appointment, then maybe go to find no obvious cause, if I had waited 24 hours I could find there is noticable swelling for her to treat. It is all a question of how to act and when.

If this were a new symptom however I would call and get in to see the doctor tomorrow if not even today. 

Ah! the frustration of being blind.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Free Entree.

As part of my policy to keep you informed about almost everything here is a little freebie.

Famous Dave's Barbecue Restaurants are giving you a free entree on August 14th 2011, the only requirement is to receive the free entree your first name must be David or Dave.

Don't despair if you have the middle name David or Dave. You get a half price entree.

To read more Click HERE!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Limerick: This Five Line Verse

Well as you probably recognize by now I have a lot of varied interests. Writing is possibly my great creative passion nowadays.

One of my vents for this creative passion is to write poetry and one of my favorite forms of poem is the Limerick.

In my HubPages posting to some of my Limericks I talk a little of the history of the Limerick as a Music Hall and Vaudeville joke and talk about the form and meter of the Limerick form.

Limericks are also great stress relievers, because they are created to make you smile, or Blush depending on your style you cannot long remain tense and irritated about day to day irritations.

I hope you will follow the link to my page, maybe leave some comments, and try a few Limericks for yourself. They are fun and quick to write in your head as you wait in the line at the checkout.

Limerick: This Five Line Verse

Friday, July 22, 2011

What do you think of when I say I'm Blind?

Today my wife was talking to someone about my being blind.

As part of the conversation the other person said, "But he can watch television, Can't he?"

Well actually no, not even a 62 inch plasma screen from three feet away. I see a light where the screen is, usually a bright blue light. Occasionally there is some movement but mostly a steady bluish light.

Even my wife was surprised at how little understanding this person showed. It was like they saw blindness as being cured by making things bigger.

Of course before I became blind myself,  I had little concept of the reality of things. 

The persons next question was just as shocking, "How does he function?"  As well as I can really.  Today that was not as good as usual.

The reason, I was in a place which has recently changed its layout.  Some familiar items which I had used as guides in the past were moved. Luckily there was an assistant nearby whom I could ask for help.

But for a moment, until I was able to find my way past the new obstacles I was paralyzed.

Ironically the new obstacles erected in this place were part of their renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabillities Act. Making their building more accessible to the disabled.

But obviously no one asked what it is like to be blind. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stem Cell Research Begins Human Trials in California this week.

Today Technology Review published the announcement by Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) that they have begun the first round of human stem cell trials for the treatment of blindness in California.

The first two trial patients, who have Macular Degeneration, were treated with stem cell procedures last Tuesday. The patients remain unnamed and it is of course too soon to tell if the treatment works.

The main thing is that with human trials, treatments for blindness from various circumstances may be that little closer.

ACT has faced many problems getting this far, it has several times laid off staff as protestors scared away investors, by threatening its business because of their anti abortion stance. Protestors claimed the company used aborted fetal stem cells in their research. Such scares caused the company to reduce its research programs to concentrate on niche areas. Retinal blindness being a core area for research.

Many people will be looking toward Southern California in the hope that the research has paid dividends  in the next few months and years.

Full Story CLICK HERE!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Story Teller: A Modern Homer

In Ancient times many blind people took up the occupation of storytelling. They would sit by the city gates and tell their tales and poems to weary travellers for a few coins.

In recent weeks it seems I have followed a similar course. I have taken up writing online quite seriously. I think given the hours I put in it could be a fifty hours per week business. I have also done some public speaking. First to the student body at my alma mater Community College. That addressed how disabled students can successfully graduate to their desired levels of education.

Yesterday, July 13,2011. I did two talks to childdren and their parents and grandparents on Cats in English Folklore. It was a fun presentation at two local libraries as part of their summer reading program.

At the first presentation the library provided a lady from the local drama group to appear as H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, It was a fun day. The children enjoyed see the queen then I told the story of Dick Whittington and his cat. then we saw a piece from Alice in Wonderland with the appearance of the Cheshire Cat, and his smiling disappearance too.

Following the stories, we allowed the children to create their own cat masks and followed all of it with a Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

The second presentation later in the day was almost identical in format except for the presence of the queen.

All around it seemed yto go well, many people didn't actually realize that I was blind until after the events. But for me the big part was putting something back into the community. Many good people gave up their time willingly to create a special day for the children of the two communities. That to me shows that community spirit is something that even we as blind people can share in.

We all can play a part even if it is as a modern Homer.

To read my poem A Modern Homer CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gadgets For the Visually Impaired

So often when we think of technologies to help the blind or visually impaired, we think of high tech and expensive things such as text to speech scanners, electronic magnifiers and such.

This is not to say such items are not important or useful, they are and do help. They are also very expensive purchases. In my article, link below) I point you to some of the more basic, less high tech tools and gadgets which help build self confidence, increase mobility, improve self esteem and allow you as a visually impaired person to enjoy day to day life.

    Read my Squiidoo article CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Moon's a Piece of Cheese

For years I have toyed with writing poetry. It usually consisted of a few rhymes and was often about love and such.

A few months ago a friend told me of the Yahoo Associated Content Program. Yahoo run a program where you submit work to an editor and they then scrutinize the work. If it is good enough they publish it and pay either cash up front or a residual income for the work.

Over the last few months I have submitted several pieces, and for one reason or another received a dreaded rejection e-mail.

Well last week and as a bit of a last act I set about writing another poem, based on a photograph. The photograph was of the large full Moon earlier this year. My first attempt was waxing lyrical on a lover's moon. It was not looking good, when a little nonsense poem came into my head.

The poem reflected the old story of the moon being a piece of cheese, which a giant would take a bite from, hence the phases.

I scribbled down my poem and sent it off to Yahoo, pretty quickly.

Today to my surprise I received a congratulatory e-mail. The Poem "The Moon is a Piece of Cheese" was accepted and published.

So here I am 49 and three quarters, and in the last decade I have gone blind, toured most of the Western Hemisphere, married, moved to a new country, received a Bachelors degree and now am a published, bone fide poet, with rejection e-mails and a payment in my pocket.

Can we say that blindness is not a disability in itself, only our reaction to it is the truly disabling factor?

To Read Poem Click Here

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Inspiration or Just Stubborn Selfishness

One of the things which has struck me since I have become blind is how people now say I am an inspiration.

They praise my achievement of gaining a BA degree with a 4.0 GPA. They praise that I go out and talk about my blindness. They acclaim my attempts to design clothing (tee-shirts) online as wonderful.

To me, non of these things are inspirational.

I was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA before I went blind, I was damned if I was going to let my standards slip, just because I could no longer see properly. To me maintaining that 4.0 became a matter of pride in myself, not at all inspirational.

People have praised my talking about my blindness, both in meetings and online, here and at HubPages. But it is vanity that makes me talk. The vanity that my words will be read by someone else.

The opening of online businesses, designing on and is merely my attempt to remain productive. I used to love painting miniature model soldiers. It was doing such crafts that raised my interest in history. I used to use the models in wargames. But the creation of grand armies was a creative act in itself. The colors of uniforms and seeing the transformation from silver lead to brightly painted miniature warrior was something I enjoyed.

Today I use my computer software to draw pictures that go into designs. Someone may buy them, but people still look at them and say. "Wow and you're blind?"

So inspirational and virtuous or selfish and stubborn and full of vice?

You call it!

Polly the GSD One of my Simple Cartoons.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First The Good News ...

Yesterday's visit to my Retinologists office started off well. I would say very, very well. Despite the blotchiness I told you about the other day, that turned out to be a couple of dry spots on the cornea. I was in such good form I asked that they perform a Snelling Chart, eye chart, test on me. I got down to about the third line.

Ok, that if you have 20/20 vision is bad. It puts me at 2000/20. I can see what a normally sighted person can see at 2,000 feet. Still legally blind, but four weeks ago before the Lucentis shot, I could see light when they shone a lamp into my left eye. Nothing else.

With that result I was on top of the world. Just like in the movie when James Cagney cried "Look Mama, I'm on top of the world." My happiness was about to end in a big bang.

My retinologist was pleased, she had suggested four weeks ago not to expect good results from the Lucentis. So it was a bonus to have such results. Then she asked how long the injection usually lasts. Big mouth, yours truly, then burst his own bubble, "About six weeks."  So here we are four weeks in and this dummy can't see what is coming.

"We'll give you another injection today then. I'll be on vacation for two weeks. So we don't want to let things get worse." my doctor said.

Ahhhhh! Not sure, How I talked myself into this position. I do badly and get an injection, I do well and I get an injection. B****r.

I wish having CRVO wasn't such a frustration. The one time when I wanted to come home and not have a sore eye for the evening, just once "Please God." Just once let me be able to see for long enough where I forget what it is like to feel that needle slip into my eye.

For a description of my experience of intravitreal (into eye) injections see my hubpage Then the Ostrich Pooped

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Red Light

You think you know your city well, you walk to work on Friday and a crosswalk is there, come Monday the crosswalk is replaced by a traffic light that you have longed for. But the consequences of being blind lead to confusion, anger, frustration and humor.

With a possible sprinkling of philosophy..

The Red Light

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vision Fading Today

It is three weeks since my Lucentis injection,

Today I am noticing a little fogginess coming into my vision, mostly just above right center.  If you imagine a clock face that would be between two and three.  That was the position where the Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO) was in 2007.

Now I cannot say that it is definitely a reoccurance of the swelling which the CRVO caused. That is because the temperature here in California over the past couple of days has been over the one hundred degree mark and very low humidity, that causes a lot of dryness of the Cornea which can give similar symptoms.

I do use some artificial tears, but in these conditions and using a computer the eye dries rapidly. An example of how dry it is, I washed a flannel shirt today, hung it outside to start to dry, it was dry to the touch in twenty-five minutes.

So with that in mind, keeping the cornea moist is near impossible without constant drops, which I think increases dryness.

I have an appointment with my retinologist next week, so we'll see what she says. Injection for swelling or dry eye? Anyone care to call it?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stem Cell Trials may be Treatment for some forms of Blindness

On Friday June 17, 2011Advanced Cell Technology, (ACT) announced they have reached the human trial stage and two patients with forms of Macular Degeneration are being prepared for injections of Human Stem Cells at UCLA in Southern California. I am including the newspaper report for you along with this post.

ACT's trials are not uncontroversial, many see the term stem cell as synonomous with abortion. It is true early stem cell production relied on aborted foetuses, but as technologies improved it was discovered stem cell could be found in non foetal tissues and so today donors can offer stem cells.

ACT has developed systems of manufacture which allow stem cells to multiply in industrial proportions. Macular degeneration is just onee possible use for the new treatments, others include Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimers
Stem cells are cells which have a general DNA structure which has not been defined by structures around them. They could become nerve cells, blood cells or muscle tissues. The treatments generally consist of an injection of stem cells in solution close to the site where they are to develop. In the case of Macular Degeneration they are injected into the eye, where they lodge in the retina and should develop into specialized retinal cells. This has been shown to work in laboratory animals.

If successful this technique could be a valuable treatment for both ACT and many people around the world. Macular Degeneration is a major cause of blindness in the Western World and treating the condition could allow several million people to enjoy a full and productive life with sight.

Human Stem Cell Trials Prepared for Treatment of Macular Degeneration

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lucentis Injection: Two Weeks On

Well it has now passed the two weeks mark since I had my Lucentis injection.

You may recall that prior to the injection I could barely see light. The world was a thick fog and there was no definition to any shapes. Within a couple of days I saw a major improvement, I could see the letters on my normal computer keyboard with the use of glasses.

Today I can see the keyboard and my fingers as I type. I am no touch typist and need to look. This post has taken me three minutes to type so far. Much better than I was doing the last weekend in May, when a single word could take that time.

I was also able to see a high visibility keyboard without any reading glasses earlier today. That is very good even for me.

Results do vary from day to day, but if your doctor recommends Lucentis  or Avastin it is worth a try. You might even beat me in terms of visual accuity. If I still had my driving licence I do not think even as good as today is, that I would go out driving a car. Things are noticeably better but some things are not that good.

For a description of my experiences with intravitreal (into eye) injections see the article Then the Ostrich Pooped   on HubPages.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blind Designer Working

I have spent a few days working on a new project. I wanted to try my hand at designing and running an online merchandize store.

It was a challenge I will admit and I cut down my options to two companies which offer free design, sales, promotion and customer service along with item production on demand to each individual order.

It is in part a challenge to myself to do something in my spare time and an experiment to see if I can create something which people will pay money for.

I am thinking of continuing the experiment until Christmas 2012, that will give me six months to practice and one full business cycle to track real results.

Should be fun I wrote the hub below to set the scene and also give initial opinions on I also opened a store and will follow up with a hub on that experience later.

Blind Designer Working

Thursday, June 9, 2011

There are nice people in the world

This morning was a normal day. My wife decided we needed to go a day early for our regular, weekly Starbuck's. Normally we go on a Friday, but this has been a busy week. So time for a treat.

We drove into the drive-thru lane and ordered our drinks, just plain brewed coffees and a blueberry scone. In front of us was a large silver SUV. As we crawled around, my wife did her make-up as usual and I just played with my debit card, it was my turn to pay.

The SUV in front pulled away from the window and was gone in a moment, my wife took my card and the cashier said, "That's ok, the driver in front paid for your order."

We were stunned, you hear about such things and they are almost an urban myth. I have often asked people if that sort of thing really happens. Well today I know they do REALLY happen.

So what does this story have to do with being blind? Nothing.

I just wanted to say that there are things which people do which do make the world better. I do not know the driver of that silver SUV but I wish I could thank them for their gesture. I doubt that they will read this blog at anytime, but maybe if we can give a little something, a kindness, a thank you, a word of praise for something done for us maybe that will be some gem of a thank you for the kindnessshown today from a stranger to a stranger.

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Joke of the Day

A blind man and his seeing eye dog walk into a store. The assistant says hello as they pass and the man acknowledges her. She watches as the blind man walks into an aisle near the center of the store. There is a loud crash.

Rushing to the end of the aisle the shop assistant sees the blind man amid a rolling mass of cans. As he stands there he swings his seeing eye dog around his head by its tail.

"Can I help?" Asks the assistant.

"No. Just looking around." Says the Blind man.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Low Vision Store

In the past few days I have opened an Amazon aStore called the Low Vision Store.

The store has some items which I have found useful as my sight has deteriorated. The store is also intended to provide me with some income in order to support this blog and pay for some of my day to day needs. It is free to visit but if you do decide to purchase items you will be contributing a small amount to this sites upkeep. I personally do not gather any information about you, the aStore is supported by, I would however be happy to receive any feedback with regard to items that you might buy or those items you might feel should be included within the store.

There are sections devoted to gadgets (items such as liquid level alarms), Computer software (An extensive library of Dragon Speech to Text software in English and Spanish), as well as a Kindle Store,  speaking watches and canes.

I hope that you will take a look at the store and maybe comeback to see future additions and support this site with a purchase.

The Low Vision Store

Monday, June 6, 2011


One of the most difficult things for me to deal with isdisrupted sleep patterns.

Since going blind, I have had no real sleep pattern. I can just fall asleep riding the bus, fall asleep in the afternoon or spend the night fully awake. It is frustrating and leads to a constant feeling of tiredness and irritation.

I don't know the cause of the change in my sleep pattern. I cannot say it is my lack of awareness of light. I do see light and know when it goes dark outside, my blindness is more with visual accuity, that is blurred vision to varying degrees.

It may be that with the blurred vision there is less intensity to the light that I see. A bright day is as bright to me as a dull cloudy day was. Now dull and cloudy might as well be night for me. Whatever the cause I hope it is not permanent, and that sometime in the future I may get a good night's sleep again.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Somedays REALLY Stink!

You know, somedays can really stink!

Today is one of those days, whether I were blind or not there is no getting away from it. Today stinks!

Last night I went to close the back door of our house, it had gone dark outside, but there were lights on out there. I always leave a light on because I once read that skunks do not like a light, they stay away being nocturnal. Well last night I met a skunk which had obviously NOT read that article.

You can possibly imagine why today stinks, why I stink, the house stinks and the very air I am breathing stinks.

And today my wife and I are driving her friends from Scotland to the airport to catch a flight to Seattle, two hours in a car with us. I wonder if they might get a free upgrade to First class, or maybe they will be banished to the wings. LOL

My excuse of course, "I didn't see it." Maybe I will not have the job of closing the door to the garden at night now.

Well one job off the "Honey do list."

Maybe today doesn't stink quite as much as I thought.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sudden Change in vision?

A change in your vision can happen in the blink of an eye. That is no pun, no joke, it is a serious matter to be dealt with as an emergency.

My blindness was caused by blood clots, until December 2001 I did not know of antiphospholipid anti-body syndrome (APS). APS is an auto immune disorder which is related to Lupus, it manifests itself as a long term propensity to form blood clots. My first was at work in the UK I was shelving stock in Tesco when suddenly I had a severe pain in my right eye, blurring of vision in that eye and a severe headache. Sadly I ignored it, for several weeks, when I did see my doctor he immediately saw it as an emergency, but I had waited too long and lost my vision in the right eye almost completely.

The clot had moved into the central retinal vein and blocked the blood supply to the retina. By the time the pain had occured it was already almost too late to react. The pain was the blood pressure rising in the eye and by then retinal nerve cells were dying.

The danger is that the pressure also blowsup blood vessels which distort like stretched balloons. This damage causes other bodily reactions, new blood vessels grow to replace the damaged ones. This in turn produces high internal pressure in the eye leading to reduced blood flow risking further clots.

If you have the symptom of rapidly blurring vision at any time, seek immediate medical attention. Time is of the essence, waiting is much too costly in terms of long term vision damage. Also insist that your doctor looks for the reasons for the vision problem. Disorders such as APS are more common than one might think, some reports put the numbers of sufferers at 1 in 500, most of whom are undiagnosed, being undiagnosed risks repeat blood clots in the other eye, or death by stroke or heart attack.

Many doctors only look for signs of diabetes, which can also cause sudden blindness along with the use of some medicines such as Viagra or some asthma drugs. Make sure your doctor is aware of all your treatments and medications as well as looking for non-diabetic causes such as APS or Sickle Cell for the loss of vision.

A central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) is not the end of the world, it will however mean a change in your life. Once it happens there is only a small chance of returning to pre-CRVO vision levels, treatment must be quickly sought and received. If you can see a doctor in minutes it is all the better at most 24 hours will cause some permanent damage, longer and permanent damage is almost assured.

The article below may be purchased from via my affiliate link:

Central retinal vein occlusion in sickle cell disease.(Case Report): An article from: Southern Medical Journal

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lucentis Injection

As I write it is 48 hours after an injection of the drug Lucentis. The drug is injected directly into the eye, actually a fairly painless procedure, much more unpleasant for anyone watching or imagining the process.

Lucentis has been used on my left eye several times, along with Avastin and sometimes Kenalog or Macugen.

Normally I see a great improvement in my vision within 72 hours of the injection. This time my retinologist advised caution, my vision had deteriorated to a foggy blurr by Tuesday last. It had not been quite that bad for quite some time. Yesterday I was able to see the walls of my house as I moved about, today I can just make out the letters on my normal keyboard, I do not have a high visibility keyboard at home, though I do use one at my local college. I think it might be a good idea for me to buy one sometime though as they are highly effective.

For my experience of intravitreal (into eye) injections, read my article  Then the Ostrich Pooped

It is often hard I think for a doctor like my retinologist, in part she must always seem cautious to prevent false hope building. If I were to see little improvement I am sure she would feel that I would lay the blame at her feet. Personally I don't think that is the case as she has been a wonderful doctor to me for four years now.

Lucentis usually remains effective for me for about four weeks, that is one of the less palatable facts of life. Vision for me is only ever temporary. We will see how this all works out over the month. My retinologist suggested Kenalog next time, it averages a six month effective period but it also raises internal eye pressure, it also caused a steroid induced cataract after about 18 months. The cataract was removed over Christmas 2008. So further cataracts are less likely.

For a description of my experiences of intravitreal (in eye) injections see my hub, Then the Ostrich Pooped   on HubPages

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The First Day

This is the first day of my new blog. I hope that this blog might grow into a resource for the visually impaired and those who live about them.

I am visually impaired myself and would have loved a go to resource that talked of the problems and also some solutions to everyday problems. I hope that many of my readers might share their experiences and insights. You need not be visually impaired yourself just share a story about any topic which might be of interest to those who are visually impaired.

A Liquid level alarm for the Blind

When I first became blind one of the most upsetting things was my innability to pour a drink for myself without over filling the cup.

It may seem silly but it is such simple sounding things which frustrated me the most. The act of pouring a cup of tea or coffee is wonderfully liberating. You feel that you are not totally dependent on someone else to provide basic needs.

For a few dollars you can purchase a small device which hangs onto the side of a cup, glass or mug and allows a blind person to hear or feel a vibration as the level of liquid in the cup comes close to the top.

The devices come in several forms but are basically a 9 volt battery with two prongs elongated and bent over to form hooks, these hooks hang on the side of the cup and as the liquid reaches them it completes the circuit allowing the buzzer to sound. So you can stop pouring and be free from spilling hot liquids on yourself.